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fish for

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Try to obtain something through artifice or indirectly. For example, He was always fishing for compliments, or, as William Makepeace Thackeray put it in Vanity Fair (1848): “The first woman who fishes for him, hooks him.” [ Mid-1500s ]
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Search for something, as in I've fished for it in all the drawers. [ First half of 1700s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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