put out feelers

Idioms & Phrases

put out feelers

Discreetly try to learn something, as in They put out feelers to see if anyone was interested in buying the company. This idiom alludes to an animal's feelers, such as antennae or tentacles, used to find food. [First half of 1800s]

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