English with Nab

Expressions with Fish that don’t “sound fishy”

Expressions with Fish that don't "sound fishy"


A fish out of water

Someone who is uncomfortable in a specific situation:

  • ‘I felt like a fish out of water at my new school.’


A big fish

An important or influential person.

  • ‘He became a big fish in the world of politics.’


A big fish in a small pond

A person seen as important and influential only within the limited scope of a small organization or group.

  • ‘Sometimes, for musicians, being a big fish in a small pond is no bad thing.’


Drink like a fish

Drink excessive amounts of alcohol.

  • ‘He drinks like a fish, and yet never seems intoxicated.’

A person in a completely unsuitable environment or situation.

  • ‘In the city he is a fish out of water with absolutely no sense of direction.’


Have other (or bigger) fish to fry

Have other (or more important) matters to attend to.

  • ‘He’s not well liked, but this week, the housemates have bigger fish to fry.’


Like shooting fish in a barrel

Extremely easy.

  • ‘Picking cultivated berries is like shooting fish in a barrel’


Neither fish nor fowl (nor good red herring)

Of indefinite character and difficult to identify or classify.

  • ‘Everybody said when we started out that you can’t do this, you won’t make a success of it, you’re neither fish nor fowl.’


There are plenty more fish in the sea

Used to console someone whose romantic relationship has ended by pointing
out that there are many other people with whom they may have a successful relationship in the future.

  • ‘Because if a relationship doesn’t work out, they know there are plenty more fish in the sea.’


Fished out

Depleted of fish.

  • ‘The grayling here have hardly been fished out’


Sounds fishy

Something that doesn’t sound right, is questionable, sounds strange or suspicious.

  • ‘Their numbers don’t match up with the taxes they’ve paid.” – “Hmm, that sounds fishy.’

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