Fish story

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Fish story is an idiom that has been in use at least since the 1800s. We will examine the meaning of the idiom fish story, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

A fish story is an exaggerated, unbelievable story. A fish story is not true. Often, it is a humorous or over-the-top tale told for entertainment, but sometimes it is the exaggerated story told by someone who is trying to trick the listener or someone who is mentally ill. The idiom fish story is an American term that came into use in the early 1800s, based on the tendency for a fisherman to exaggerate the size of the fish that he caught, or the fish that he almost caught.


“Somebody who’s telling a fish story, when you actually catch them in the lies, you don’t know how they’re going to react.” (The Naples Daily News)

“I know there is a big old cash register down there about two feet wide that is mine,” said Curtis holding out his hands like someone telling a fish story. (The Okanogan Valley Gazette Tribune)

Bass Pro Shops and city officials weren’t telling a fish story all those years when they promised a whopper of a tourist attraction on the Memphis riverfront. (The Memphis Commercial Appeal)

“Charlie’s personality was captivating whether he was talking business or telling a fish story, and he definitely will be missed.” (Musky Hunter Magazine)