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fishing expedition

noun, Informal.
a legal proceeding mainly for the purpose of interrogating an adversary, or of examining his or her property and documents, in order to gain useful information.
any inquiry carried on without any clearly defined plan or purpose in the hope of discovering useful information.
Also called fishing trip.
1960-65 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fishing expedition
  • By combining with other search channels, physicists are casting an increasingly broad net in this subatomic fishing expedition.
  • If you don't live on the coast, take a riverboat cruise or go on a fishing expedition.
  • Guests can use the resort's boat slips, canoes and kayaks, or join a fishing expedition from the resort dock.
  • It was referred to as a fishing expedition, or a mindless collecting of facts.
  • But at the same time, the genome wide fishing expedition didn't turn up empty.
  • The defendants urged the court not to allow a fishing expedition.
Slang definitions & phrases for fishing expedition

fishing expedition

noun phrase

An attempt, on the part of the police, a prosecutor, etc, to discover evidence where it may or may not be; a sort of inquisition: She had nothing special in mind to ask Joan Tesell; it was just a fishing expedition (1961+)

Related Terms

go fishing

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with fishing expedition

fishing expedition

An attempt to find useful information by asking questions at random. For example, The sales force was told to go on a fishing expedition to find out what they could about the company's competitors. This expression was taken up by lawyers to describe interrogating an adversary in hopes of finding relevant evidence and is now used more broadly still. [ c. 1930 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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