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jump the shark

1. In television programming, to resort to using an obvious or unbelievable gimmick in a scene, episode, or storyline as a means of maintaining viewership, especially when the show's quality and/or popularity has begun to decline. The phrase alludes to the sitcom Happy Days, in which the character Fonzie (Henry Winkler) jumps over a shark on water-skis in the fifth season. This show used to have some of the wittiest writing in television, but they really jumped the shark when they introduced a contrived alien invasion in the seventh season.
2. By extension, to signal, especially through a conspicuous activity, event, or maneuver, a decline in the progress or evolution of something (e.g., a company, a brand, a political endeavor, etc.). The global tech giant, whose smartphone brand transformed the everyday technological landscape, seems to have jumped the shark this week when they revealed a line of computer-synced sneakers touted as their new flagship product. The governor was accused of jumping the shark during his re-election campaign by joining in with the cheerleading squad at his former high school's football game.
See also: jump, shark

shark bait

1. slang A person swimming or surfing alone in the ocean. We sat on the beach with our drinks, watching the foolish shark bait going into the water alone for an evening swim.
2. (Hawaii slang) A very pale beachgoer, especially a tourist. (Supposedly because pale skin is attractive to sharks.) We don't hang out in this part of town too often in the summer, as it gets overwhelmed with shark bait this time of year.
3. A particularly naïve or gullible person who is an ideal target for a scam, graft, or con. He'd been in the game of scamming people for so long that he could spot shark bait from a mile away. Don't you dare wear that fanny pack out in town. We'll look like shark bait to the locals!
See also: bait, shark

wouldn't shout if a shark bit him

Cheap, miserly. In Australia, "to shout" is to buy someone something, usually a drink. Primarily heard in Australia. You expect Steve to buy you a drink? Ha! That guy wouldn't shout if a shark bit him!
See also: bit, if, shark, shout

shark baiter

A person swimming or surfing alone in the ocean. Primarily heard in Australia. We sat on the beach with our drinks, watching the foolish shark baiter going into the water alone for an evening swim.
See also: shark

swim with sharks

1. Literally, to be in the water with sharks. My brother is a real adventurer—he's bungee jumped before and has even swam with sharks!
2. To be involved with cunning, possibly dangerous, people. I know you think you're a hustler, but you're swimming with sharks now—you could lose all your money against these guys. Before you start swimming with sharks, consider this—the last guy who went into business with them wound up dead!
See also: shark, swim

jump the shark

(of a television series or film) reach a point at which far-fetched events are included merely for the sake of novelty, indicative of a decline in quality. US informal
This phrase is said to refer to an episode of the long-running US television series Happy Days, in which the central character (the Fonz) jumped over a shark while waterskiing.
See also: jump, shark

ˈjump the shark

(American English) if a television programme jumps the shark, it starts to decline in quality and introduces ridiculous ideas in order to maintain the interest of the publicThis comes from the TV series Happy Days, in which on one show a character jumped over a shark while waterskiing.
See also: jump, shark


1. n. a swindler; a confidence operator. (Underworld.) The sharks were lined up ten deep to get at the blue-eyed new owner of the bowling alley.
2. n. a lawyer. (Derogatory.) Some shark is trying to squeeze a few grand out of me.

shark repellent

n. something that prevents corporate takeovers. (Securities markets.) Acme Systems tried again to get its board to approve a shark repellent to keep the Widget cartel from acquiring it.
See also: shark

jump the shark

To undergo a sustained decline in quality or popularity.
See also: jump, shark
References in periodicals archive ?
The Shark meter in pre-wired enclosure lets you expand switchgear capability and mount meters to measure electricity in remote outdoor locations.
Finning is already prohibited by federal law, but shark fishers do it anyway because they can fit more fins onto the boat than full sharks - and it's easy enough to not get caught.
No one knows if the shark can feel the point of the spear.
We had not managed to catch such a big shark since 10 years," added Kocaman.
As the video suggests, majority of the shark species prey on smaller fishes.
Shark fin soup is a traditional Chinese delicacy--a special dish reserved for important occasions like weddings.
In the past few months alone, American Samoa and the Micronesian state of Kosrae have put an end to shark fishing, and the European Union and Venezuela have banned shark finning.
In a new study, University of Florida researchers have named and described an ancient intermediate form of the white shark, Carcharodon hubbelli, suggesting that the modern white shark likely descended from broad-toothed mako sharks.
Most of the 500 metric tonnes of shark fins exported to Hong Kong annually from the UAE are comprised of imported fins from other countries in the region, he said.
However, UAE- based marine scientist Rima Jabado is genuinely concerned about the depleting shark population in the Gulf waters.
More than 50 of the world's top shark experts and celebrities are on the auction block during Discovery Channel's Shark Week 2012.
In response to this threat, certain jurisdictions (at the national, provincial/state, and even municipal level) have enacted bans on shark fin possession and trade, with the goal of reducing the availability of shark fin soup and therefore the need to keep killing sharks for their fins.
Proudly supporting the Shark Alliance's 'European Shark Week' and the Shark Trust, Birmingham Sea Life centre will present a range of exciting, interactive family activities to raise awareness about the plight of sharks.
The capture of these boats provided more evidence that a commercial shark fishery is operating in the Red Sea," says Amr Ali, managing director of the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), a local environmental NGO.