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Fish Idioms

Updated on December 12, 2017
Ben Reed profile image

Ben has held a life-long interest in language and has a special interest in the expressions, phrases and idioms that contribute to its use.

What is an Idiom?

Hi World.

I hope that enjoy this article on Fish Idioms

There are a number of idioms that are related to Fish.

Some are negative and derogatory, but some can be positive and complimentary.

An idiom is a phrase or an expression that cannot be taken literally. When you use an idiom in everyday language, then it has a different meaning than the basic meaning or definition of the words as found in a dictionary.

An example of this might be "break a leg." If taken literally, then you are being told to break your leg. However, this phrase, or idiom is often used by actors to say "Do well" before they go out on stage.

Fishing For Idioms

Fishy Idioms - What A Catch
Fishy Idioms - What A Catch

Fish Idioms - numbers 1 to 3

1. A Cold Fish.

A way of saying that someone is unfriendly or does not show their emotions easily.

An example would be: "He doesn't get involved in anything - he's a bit of a cold fish".

Sometimes used to describe a person who is aloof, or who shows a lack of sympathy.

The British Dictionary defines the meaning of cold fish as "an unemotional and unfriendly person".

2. A Red Herring.

A way of diverting someones attention away from something of significance.

An example would be: "That writer if famous for his use of red herrings to draw the reader away from the suspicion away from the main character".

3. Neither Fish nor Fowl.

To way of saying that something is not recognizable. It is neither one thing or another.

Fish Idioms - numbers 4 to 6

4. There are Plenty More Fish in the Sea.

A way of saying that there are plenty of other opportunities out there.

The most used example of this might be when a person has broken up with their boyfriend or girlfriend. It is often said to them: "Don't worry, there will be someone else out there for you, after all, there are plenty more fish in the sea".

5. A Big Fish in a Small Pond.

Someone who is important in a small group or organization. Someone who would be far less important in a larger group or organization.

Collins English Dictionary describes this idiom as: "The most important or powerful person in a small group".

This idiom can also be used in a slightly more derogatory way. It can be used to describe or infer that the person, whilst appearing to have great influence or power, would actually be less effective in a bigger group of people.

6. Fish for a Compliment.

To attempt to get a compliment out of someone.

To Fish For Compliments

Fishing For A Compliment - Idiomatic Phrase
Fishing For A Compliment - Idiomatic Phrase

Fish Idioms - BBC Learning English - YouTube

Fsh Idioms - numbers 7 to 9

7. As slippery As An Eel.

A way of saying that someone cannot be trusted.

Can be used in several ways, for example: to describe a crafty crook who is so savy that evades all attempts to capture him. Another example would be: "That politician is as slippery as an eel, he never directly answers a question, he just evades the question".

8. Have Bigger Fish to Fry.

A way of saying that you have other, more important things to do.

This idiom is a way of saying that you have more interesting or pressing things to do that require the focus of your attention.

9. A Pretty Kettle of Fish.

A way of saying that it is a perplexing or troublesome situation.

Slippery As An Eel - Idiom

As Slippery As An Eel - Idiom
As Slippery As An Eel - Idiom | Source

Fish Idiom number 10

"Packed Like Sardines."

Away of saying that people are crammed in close together.

Packed Like Sardines

Packed Like Sardines - Idiom
Packed Like Sardines - Idiom

Fishy Idioms #11 to #13

11. Fish Or Cut Bait.

Meaning: To either do something about a situation, or to get out the way and let others get on with it.

12. Drink Like A Fish.

Meaning: refers to someone who drinks a lot of alcohol.

13. Cry Stinking Fish.

This idiom is used when trying to put down another's effort.

Idiom #14 - "Whats That Got To Do With The Price Of Fish"

A way of saying that someone's comment or intervention had absolutely no relevance to the matter at hand.

I hope that you have enjoyed this article.

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    • dhakaakbar profile image

      Md Akbar Ali 

      11 months ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      Nice and compact presentation.

    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      5 years ago from Redcar

      @Camden1: Thank you.

    • Camden1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Who knew that there were so many fish idioms! What a fun article!

    • Ben Reed profile imageAUTHOR

      Ben Reed 

      5 years ago from Redcar

      @anonymous: Slippery things those fish....

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I just know there's something fishy going on here but I can't quite put my finger on it>:)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very helpful post..Thanks for sharing with US

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Interesting topic for a lens, like it. I know it's not strictly a fish, but how about a Whale Of A Tale.


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