English Idiom – To smell a rat

Meaning – To suspect that something is wrong or that something dishonest is happening.  You can use this expression when you recognize that something is not as it appears. Someone may be trying to trick you, deceive you or harm you in some way.

Related Expressions:


When could you use this idiom?

  • Somebody is trying to sell you something, but the price is extremely cheap.
  • You have received an email from somebody who tells you that they have an unmissable opportunity for you.
  • An unknown person on the phone asks you to tell them your bank details and personal information.
  • “A company contacted me last week and told me that they were giving away brand-new Adidas trainers. I could smell a rat immediately!”
In The News:
  • Is there an idiom like this in your country?
What is an idiom?

An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally.  An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.