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smell fishy

Be suspect or suspicious, as in His explanation definitely smells fishy; my guess is that he's lying. This idiom alludes to the fact that fresh fish have no odor but stale or rotten ones do. [ Early 1800s ]
The American HeritageĀ® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright Ā© 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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  • Say, Laurie, course your friends are all right, an' it's none o' my business; but they smell fishy to me a mile off.

    The Professor's Mystery Wells Hastings

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