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Related to smell blood: taste blood
1. To recognize or detect a weakness or vulnerability (especially a new one) in an opponent, adversary, or subject over which one is trying to gain an advantage. The phrase implies that such a weakness will then be acted upon to gain victory or advantage. Likened to the literal presence of blood in water detected by aquatic predators, such as sharks. The visiting squad is starting to look tired, and the home team smells blood. Look for them to try to close out the game. Do not give any indication that we are willing to settle. If we do, the attorneys will smell blood and we won't get what we want.
2. To be ready, willing, and eager to attack or fight. I could sense that the drunken mob was smelling blood, ready to inflict violence on whomever they encountered.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Fig. to be ready for a fight; to be ready to attack; to be ready to act. (Like sharks, which are sent into a frenzy by the smell of blood.) Lefty was surrounded, and you could tell that the guys from the other gang smelled blood. The lawyer heard the crash and came running—smelling blood and bucks.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
smell blooddiscern weakness or vulnerability in an opponent.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
tv. to be ready for a fight; to be ready to attack; to be ready to act. (Like sharks, which are sent into a frenzy by the smell of blood.) Lefty was surrounded, and you could tell that the guys from the other gang smelled blood.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
To sense an opportunity for advantage at someone else's expense.
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.