a legal proceeding mainly for the purpose of interrogating a suspect, or of examining their 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use fishing expedition in a sentence
"A fishing expedition is not unlawful where there is good reason to believe that fish will be found," says Chase.
We have a chairman on a fishing expedition who has nothing on Obama or any White House person.
The group was on a Christmas fishing expedition in the archipelago.Missoni Brand’s Future Uncertain as Search Continues for Company’s Helmsman | Barbie Latza Nadeau | January 7, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
Some Hill Republicans express concern that this was not his first extramarital fishing expedition.
Esau learnt this habit of asking for eggs when we were on a fishing expedition near the south coast of Norway.Three in Norway | James Arthur Lees
Ratu Lala thought this would be a good opportunity for us to make a fishing expedition to Vuna.Wanderings Among South Sea Savages And in Borneo and the Philippines | H. Wilfrid Walker
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.Punch, July 18, 1917 | Various
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
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.