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 ?
There are several ways anglers can locate the first mackerel to show up over the reef.
Domestic fishermen have returned to development iwashi and mackerel in the past year.
SMOKED MACKEREL, BEETROOT AND LENTIL SALAD WITH HORSERADISH DRESSING
Blyth, South Shields and Roker Pier have also done well with Mackerel.
Drizzle the mackerel with the butter sauce and top each fish with a sprig of peppercorn.
Up until recently you could buy Scottish mackerel - they feed on herring though, which are starting to move south into warmer waters, so the mackerel you'll be buying now will be English and from places like Cornwall.
7 FOR a taste of Thailand, try having steamed mackerel with fresh ginger and lemongrass.
Mackerel can be found in mid-water travelling in large dense, shoals, often at great speed and making very long migrations.
In a quest to heed the ministry's call to direct 2% of the total allowable catch for horse mackerel to canning initiatives, Bidvest Namibia Fisheries responded positively and may potentially invest as much as N$500 million into its horse mackerel value addition drive.
Having just entered the canal, mackerel have brought stripers -- mostly small schoolies -- along with them, as they do every year around Mother's Day, when the water approaches the magical 50-degree mark.
According to the European Commission, Iceland grants itself nearly one fourth (23%) of the scientifically justified quota of North Atlantic mackerel stocks.
The negotiations by the coastal states - the EU, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Russia - will resume in London, on 15 January, with a view to ending the mackerel war.
MACKEREL is no longer a sustainable choice for a regular fish supper, conservationists have warned in the face of overfishing of the stock.
Mackerel and lemongrass noodles (serves 6-8) INGREDIENTS: 4 mackerel, filleted; 3tbsp tamarind paste; 1tbsp ginger, grated; 2 garlic cloves, crushed; 1/2tsp salt; 1/2tsp ground coriander; 1tbsp clear honey.
INGREDIENTS 4 ciabatta slices 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus a splash extra to cook the mackerel 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 tbsp creamed horseradish 1 tbsp lemon juice 4 Sainsbury's mackerel fillets (400g pack), or similar Knob of butter 80g bag Sainsbury's herb salad, or similar 2 medium free-range eggs, boiled for 6 minutes until semi-hard boiled, quartered METHOD 1.