neither fish nor fowl


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Related to neither fish nor fowl: neither fish nor fowl nor good red herring

neither fish nor fowl

Neither one thing nor another; not belonging to any suitable class or description; not recognizable or characteristic of any one particular thing. We require a solution that directly deals with the issue at hand, but the proposal that has been put forward is, to my mind, neither fish nor fowl.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Cliché not any recognizable thing. The car that they drove up in was neither fish nor fowl. It must have been made out of spare parts. This proposal is neither fish nor fowl. I can't tell what you're proposing.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Also, neither fish nor flesh; neither fish, flesh, nor fowl. Not one or the other, not something fitting any category under discussion. For example, They felt he was neither fish nor fowl-not qualified to lead the department, yet not appropriate to work as a staff member either . This expression appeared in slightly different form in John Heywood's 1546 proverb collection ("Neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring") and is thought to allude to food for monks ( fish, because they abstained from meat), for the people ( flesh, or meat), and for the poor ( red herring, a very cheap fish).
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

If something or someone is neither fish nor fowl, they are difficult to identify or understand, because they seem partly like one thing and partly like another. Brunel's vessel was neither fish nor fowl: a passenger liner too ugly and dirty to offer much beyond novelty value. In the American sports press, this athlete is neither fish nor fowl, neither American nor entirely foreign. Note: People occasionally replace fish with flesh. She didn't look one of anything to Oatsie, neither flesh nor fowl, neither idiot nor intellectual. Note: `Fowl' is an old-fashioned word for a hen or other bird.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl (nor good red herring)

of indefinite character and difficult to identify or classify.
This expression arose with reference to dietary laws formerly laid down by the Church during periods of fasting or abstinence.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither ˌfish nor ˈfowl

neither one thing nor another: Graduate teaching assistants are neither fish nor fowl, neither completely students nor teachers.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Having no specific characteristics; indefinite.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor

neither fish nor fowl

Having no specific characteristics or category, not easily characterized. The phrase, which was originally “neither fish nor flesh nor fowl,” appeared in slightly different form in a 16th-century collection of proverbs as “neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red herring”: fish for monks who ate no meat, flesh for people who could afford meat, and cheap herring for the poor. The phrase is reminiscent of the old riddle: What is neither fish nor flesh, feathers nor bone/but still has fingers and thumbs of its own? Answer: a glove.
See also: fish, fowl, neither, nor
References in periodicals archive ?
Bader's attempt to combine the traditional methods of appropriating Samkara's theology with the scholarly approaches to the study of that great theologian makes his study neither fish nor fowl.
It may well be that programming, filtered through a mobile tablet, is neither fish nor fowl - not TV in the classic sense, but perhaps a permutation destined to take on a life of its own," Langan says.
But it isn't, and the result seems to slip between evolutionary stools, being neither fish nor fowl.
NEITHER fish nor fowl really as he offered little going forward on the ground or in the air.
Neither fish nor fowl, granular materials display features reminiscent of both solids and fluids.
It wasn't a full range supermarket, but it wasn't a rock bottom hard discounter either: it was neither fish nor fowl.