Other fish to fry and bigger fish to fry are idioms that may have been in use longer than you think. We will examine the meaning of the idioms other fish to fry and bigger fish to fry, where they came from, and some examples of their use in sentences.
The idioms other fish to fry and bigger fish to fry mean that the speaker has something more important to work on or other things he would rather do. Though interchangeable, the phrase other fish to fry simply means that the person has something else he should be doing or that he would rather do, while the phrase bigger fish to fry implies that he has something more important to do. The idiom other fish to fry is older, coming in to use in the mid-1600s. The phrase bigger fish to fry came into use at the end of the 1800s.
I’ll concede that feedback is valuable in any business or service that caters to the public, but I’ve got other fish to fry while the survey requests mercilessly keep rolling in. (The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)
And whether it was those tensions or, as Edds said last week, “other fish to fry,” things stalled quickly after that. (The Salisbury Post)
I would guess they’ll never be buds, but both have bigger fish to fry heading into the next stage of their careers. (Sports Illustrated)
“I have bigger fish to fry in the town than whether a business person’s awning is a few inches into the right-of-way,” Marion said. (The Buffalo News)