fishing expedition

See synonyms for fishing expedition on
  1. a legal proceeding mainly for the purpose of interrogating a suspect, or of examining their property and documents, in order to gain useful information.

  2. any inquiry carried on without any clearly defined plan or purpose in the hope of discovering useful information.

Origin of fishing expedition

First recorded in 1960–65
  • Also called fishing trip.

Words Nearby fishing expedition Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use fishing expedition in a sentence

  • Ratu Lala thought this would be a good opportunity for us to make a fishing expedition to Vuna.

  • Two or three days after the fishing expedition the boys had gathered together at the swimming-pool, Ben Gile with them.

    Little Busybodies | Jeanette Augustus Marks and Julia Moody
  • But no one replied, chiefly because no one knew, excepting the kingfisher, and he was away on a fishing expedition.

  • At breakfast she discovered that Judge Trent and Dunham had departed early on a fishing expedition.

    The Opened Shutters | Clara Louise Burnham

Other 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.