English Idiom – Smell fishy or Fishy.

Meaning – Suspicious.  This idiom is used when something is making us suspicious or when we believe somebody is being dishonest. The expression smell fishy can also be used when something is of questionable quality.

This idiom is also used to express doubt or disbelief in someone’s words or actions. For example, you could say “That story sounds a bit fishy – I don’t believe it!” to someone who is telling an unlikely story.

We can say something smells fishy, or we can shorten the expression to just fishy.


When could you use this idiom?

  • If somebody offers you an amazing deal that seems to be too good to be true.
  • A person is telling you something that seems unlikely to be true.
  • Someone is selling something for a ridiculously low price.


  • Colin “Tim is trying to sell me his bimmer. The price is far too cheap!”
  • GaryThat smells a bit fishy to me. I don’t trust Tim at all. There is probably something wrong with the car.”

In The News:

Column: Gov. Cooper and the fishy ‘solar deal’


  • 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.

What is FunkyEnglish?

FunkyEnglish is a website that helps you improve your English. We offer quick lessons that teach idiomsslangphrasal verbs and more. Visit our homepage to see our latest articles, or use the menu to find specific content!