smell blood

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smell 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.
See also: blood, smell

smell blood

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 runningsmelling blood and bucks.
See also: blood, smell

smell blood

discern weakness or vulnerability in an opponent.
See also: blood, smell

smell blood

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.
See also: blood, smell

smell blood

To sense an opportunity for advantage at someone else's expense.
See also: blood, smell
References in periodicals archive ?
Ms Hughes faces fresh calls to quit, but Mr Blunkett insisted he would have done the same and said he would not bow to "right-wing press smelling blood.
With the Dons smelling blood, shell-shocked Preston went behind nine min-utes from time when McAnuff curled in a superb effort from Neil Shipperley's intelligent ball.
Researchers note that sharks attack people only when we invade their territory, disturb their mating rituals, or when they go crazy after smelling blood in the water.
Her spotlight is the morning sun; her accusers surround her like sharks smelling blood.
They will definitely be smelling blood and will go at us really hard.
He's a shark smelling blood in the water,'' said USC assistant head coach Ed Orgeron.