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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

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

shark repellent

Any defensive financial tactic used by a company to fend off a hostile corporate takeover by another. Sensing that Gangrenous Inc. was looking to acquire their company to exploit its valuable intellectual property, the board of directors passed a number of shark repellents during their AGM to keep the hostile company at bay.
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

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


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
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

jump the shark

To undergo a sustained decline in quality or popularity.
See also: jump, shark
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Great whites can torpedo through waters at speeds up to 15 miles per hour, with one-third to one-half of shark attacks on humans worldwide being attributed to the species. 
Loved by few and feared by many, global shark populations have taken a nosedive due to hunting, coastal degradation, and a huge reduction in the stocks of prey fish like sardines and mackerel.
Equally alarming was that shark hotspots showing high overlap with longline fishing were often also subjected to high fishing effort, a potential 'double whammy' for sharks that will result in higher catch rates and potentially accelerate declines in abundance.
SOMEFIN ELSE Sharks feeding, above, and a ferocious Great White
Magante said when BFAR officials reached Barangay Cugman, residents had already slaughtered the shark and divided the meat among themselves.
According to, the megamouth shark is the smallest of the three species of filter-feeding sharks.
Even though it's not religiously forbidden to consume shark meat, studies have shown that it is not the healthiest of options either.
Scientists already knew that bonnethead sharks eat seagrass along with the squid and shrimp they gobble up on the ocean floor.
A massive whale shark was caught in their net near the place of Warri.
The Celebrate with No Shark Fin campaign aims to address this and end shark fin consumption at Thai weddings, family gatherings, business meetings, and other celebratory events, thereby protecting sharks, fisheries and ocean ecosystems.
Typically, the season when whale sharks are seen in Omani waters is from July to September, but sometimes sightings are made as early as June, according to Ahmed al Baloushi, diving instructor at Oxygen Diving and Adventure.
The 2018 edition of Shark Week comes at an time in the UAE, when The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has introduced The National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks 2018-2021, as well as releasing the UAE Shark Assessment Report, which seeks to save dozens of shark and ray species from the brink of extinction as part of an initial four-year plan.
In Karachi, shark meat is largely consumed as finger fish while fins are illegally exported as 'salted dry fish'.
About 90 establishments based here will completely remove shark's fin from their menus or serve them only upon request, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said today.