goldfish bowl

World English Dictionary
goldfish bowl
 
n
1.  Also called: fishbowl a glass bowl, typically spherical, in which fish are kept as pets
2.  a place or situation open to observation by onlookers

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

goldfish bowl

A situation affording no privacy, as in Being in a goldfish bowl comes with the senator's jobthere's no avoiding it. The glass bowl allowing one to view goldfish from every direction was transferred first, in the 1920s, to a police interrogation room equipped with a one-way mirror. By the mid-1900s the expression was being used more broadly.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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