mackerel


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holy cow

An exclamation of surprise, shock, or astonishment. Holy cow, the bill for that dinner is nearly $200! We won the lottery? Holy cow, that's amazing news!
See also: cow, holy

holy mackerel

An exclamation of surprise, shock, or astonishment. Holy mackerel, the bill for that dinner is nearly $200! We won the lottery? Holy mackerel, that's amazing news!
See also: holy, mackerel

a sprat to catch a mackerel

A small amount of effort or money to expend or risk that has the potential to yield much greater benefits or rewards. Often used after the verb "set," meaning to use as bait; a sprat is a much smaller fish than a mackerel, so you use the smaller as bait to catch the larger. Primarily heard in UK. When big retailers like them offer cash-back prizes, they are setting sprat to catch a mackerel—the money they make from sucking in customers more than outweighs what they spend in actual payouts.
See also: catch, mackerel

Holy mackerel!

Inf. Wow! Holy mackerel! What a beautiful day! Holy mackerel! What's this? A new car?
See also: holy

holy cow

Also, holy mackerel or Moses or moly or smoke . An exclamation of surprise, astonishment, delight, or dismay, as in Holy cow, I forgot the wine, or Holy mackerel, you won! or Holy Moses, here comes the teacher! or Holy smoke, I didn't know you were here too. The oldest of these slangy expletives uses mackerel, dating from about 1800; the one with Moses dates from about 1850 and cow from about 1920. None has any literal significance, and moly is a neologism devised to rhyme with "holy" and possibly a euphemism for "Moses."
See also: cow, holy

a sprat to catch a mackerel

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If you describe something you do as a sprat to catch a mackerel, you mean that it involves a small cost or amount of effort but it will bring you great rewards or benefits. Setting a sprat to catch a mackerel, the store is offering in its summer sale a chrome blender for £99 (was £149) to those who spend £50 or more. Note: A sprat is a type of small fish and a mackerel is a larger fish. Both fish may be eaten.
See also: catch, mackerel

a sprat to catch a mackerel

a small expenditure made, or a small risk taken, in the hope of a large or significant gain. British
A sprat is a small sea fish, while a mackerel is rather larger. The phrase has been in use since the mid 19th century and is also found with whale in the place of mackerel .
See also: catch, mackerel

(be) a ˌsprat to catch a ˈmackerel

(informal) (be) a fairly small or unimportant thing which is offered or risked in the hope of getting something bigger or better: The competition and prize of a free car is a sprat to catch a mackerel. The publicity will mean good business for months to come.
Sprat and mackerel are both types of fish. Sprats are very small.
See also: catch, mackerel

Holy mackerel!

(ˈholi ˈmækrəl)
exclam. Wow! Holy mackerel! What a day!
See also: holy
References in periodicals archive ?
Whatever your view, mackerel and their many fans are here to stay.
ICES is also undertaking a A-special scientific workshop in May which will strategically examine what improvements can be made to the information needed to assess A-changes in the mackerel stock, and to enable improved scientific advice in the future.
There is no cause for alarm over the plastic-like substances allegedly coating imported mackerels, agriculture officials said.
Mackerel is a migrating fish species that prefer to live in schools at a depth of 30-40m, he said.
With ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and selenium, mackerel fish can take care of all your skin care needs.
Such has been my experience on numerous flats around the state: Locate a deeper cut or a channel edge and you can just about bet you'll find mackerel patrolling the roll-offs and sneaking onto the skinny areas to ambush prey.
Mackerel and sardine Ivasi are now mastering 13 vessels, two of them are equipped with purse seines.
Well-known conveyor belt restaurant chain Sukiya decided to diversify its menu with Mackerel Burgers and Sushi dogs, reports RocketNews24.
Mackerel and beetroot, mackerel and horseradish, beetroot and horseradish, lentils and beetroot.
AT last it seems the mackerel have moved inshore in better numbers with catches being made from Amble Pier, where there have also been Flounders taken.
Some folks think of mackerel as a pungent fish, but anyone who likes salmon will find a similar flavour profile.
Beetroot is a great winter root vegetable with a nice sweetness, which goes perfectly with mackerel, the centrepiece in this month's recipe.
3 FISH like salmon or mackerel can reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and help prevent your body from heart disease.
Mackerel costs around [euro]10 a kilo and is a popular fish among Irish shoppers.
Bernard Esau introduced a requirement for 2% of the total allowable catch for horse mackerel to be allocated to canning, a move aimed at spurring value addition of the most plentiful marine fish resource.