fish for

Idioms & Phrases

fish for

  1. 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]

  2. Search for something, as in I've fished for it in all the drawers. [First half of 1700s]

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