fish quotations


fish quotations
an arbitrary selection follows and also includes proverbs, rhymes, fragments of show tunes, and ditties (as Q lacks piscine entries). Some other proverbs appear in the letter files:
1 - "Anaximander says that men were first produced in fishes, and when they were grown up and able to help themselves were thrown up, and so lived upon the land".....Plutarch. 46 (?)-120 (?) A. D. Symposiacs, Book viii, Question viii
2 - "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men".....Matthew, 4, 19
3 - "And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him".....Mark, 1:17-18
4 - "Like a fish out of water".....attributed to St. Athanasius, A.D. 373
5 - "All is fish that comes to the net".....ca. 1520
6 - "The best fish keep the bottom"....ca. 1566
7 - "There are as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it"..... ca. 1573
8 - "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime".....Chinese proverb
9 - "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day".....modern version of the Chinese proverb
10 - "Big fish eat small fish".....Chinese proverb
11 - "A dried fish cannot be used as a cat\'s pillow".....Chinese proverb
12 - "A fishing-rod has a fool at one end and a fish (or worm) at the other".....The Indicator, L. Hunt, 1819
13 - "The fish sees the bait, not the hook; a person sees the gain, not the danger".....Chinese proverb
14 - "Schools of fish come to those who wait patiently; if the big ones don\'t come, the little ones will".....Chinese proverb
15 - "We have here other fish to fry".....Rabelais, c. 1490-1553
16 - "She is neither fish nor flesh, nor good red herring".....John Heywood, ca. 1497-1580
17 - "That great fishpond (the sea)".....The Honest Whore, 1604, Thomas Dekker
18 - "The play, I remember, pleased not the million: \'twas caviare to the general".....Hamlet, 1601, W. Shakespeare
19 - "A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm".....Hamlet, 1601, W. Shakespeare
20 - "A fish, he smells like a fish; a very ancient and fish-like smell".....The Tempest, 1611, W. Shakespeare
21 - "As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler".....The Compleat Angler, 1653, Izaak Walton
22 - "I am, Sir, a Brother of the Angle".....The Compleat Angler, 1653, Izaak Walton
23 - "I love any discourse of rivers, and fish and fishing".....The Compleat Angler, 1653, Izaak Walton
24 - "Death is a fisherman, the world we see. His fish-pond is, and we the fishes be".....Anonymous, Death\'s Trade, 17th Century
25 - "To fish in troubled waters".....Mathew Henry, 1662-1714
26 - "Why then send lampreys? fie, for shame! \'Twill set a virgin\'s blood on flame. This to fifteen a proper gift! It might lend sixty-five a lift".....John Gay, To a Young Lady with some Lampreys, from Poems, 1720
27 - "Lamprey\'s a most immodest diet: You\'ll neither wake nor sleep in quiet".....John Gay, To a Young Lady with some Lampreys, from Poems, 1720
28 - "Haddock, cod, turbot, and ling, Of all; the fish i\' th\' sea, herring\'s the king, Up started the flowk and said, here am I, And ever since that his mouth stands awry".....English folk rhyme (flowk being a fluke or flatfish)
29 - "A Scilly ling, Is a dish for a king".....English folk rhyme
30 - "Never a fisherman need there be, If fishes could hear as well as see".....English folk rhyme
31 - "When the wind\'s in the north, The skilful fisher goes not forth, When the wind\'s in the south, It blows the bait in the fishes\' mouth".....English folk rhyme
32 - "And angling, too, that solitary vice".....Lord Byron, Don Juan (1819-1824)
33 - "Of all nature\'s animated kingdoms, fish are the most unchristian, inhospitable, heartless, and cold-blooded of creatures".....Mardi, 1849, Herman Melville
34 - "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk".....Journal, 1850, Henry David Thoreau
35 - "Do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish".....Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, & Essays, 1891-1910, Mark Twain
36 - "And this is good old Boston, The home of the bean and the cod, Where the Lowells talk to the Cabots, And the Cabots talk only to God".....Springfield Sunday Republican, 14 December 1924, John Collins Bossidy
37 - "Fish got to swim and birds got to fly".....Show Boat, 1927, Oscar Hammerstein
38 - "Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear, And he shows them pearly white, Just a jackknife has Macheath, dear, And he keeps it out of sight".....The Threepenny Opera, 1928, Bertolt Brecht
39 - "All men are equal before fish".....Herbert Hoover
40 - "Don\'t bargain for fish which are still in the water".....Indian proverb
41 - "It is not a fish until it is on the bank".....Irish proverb
42 - "Throw a lucky man in the sea, and he will come up with a fish in his mouth".....Saudi Arabian proverb
43 - "Fuel is not sold in a forest, nor fish on a lake".....Chinese proverb
44 - "Govern a family as you would cook a small fish - very gently".....Chinese proverb
45 - "To climb a tree to catch a fish is talking much and doing nothing".....Chinese proverb
46 - "At high tide the fish eat ants; at low tide the ants eat fish".....Thai proverb
47 - "There is an eel under every rock".....Latin proverb
48 - "Fish begin to stink from the head".....Proverb in many European countries, Persia and Turkey, meaning all corruption comes from the government or the upper classes
49 - "Piscis primum a capite foetet".....Latin for "Fish stinks from the head first"
50 - "Pisces natare doces"..... Latin for "You\'re teaching fish how to swim"; literally, you are wasting your time
51 - "Luck affects everything. let your hook always be cast; in the stream where you least expect it there will be a fish".....Latin proverb (Ovid)
52 - "Fish and guest go bad on the third day and must be thrown out".....Proverb in many European and Asian countries with variations such as the fish and guest being poison, odious, old, wearisome, smelling, stinking, etc. but all giving three days as the limit
53 - "A fish follows the bait".....English proverb
54 - "Dead fish always go with the stream".....English proverb
55 - "Fish must swim thrice"..... i.e. in water, sauce and wine, English, Scottish and Polish proverb (butter replacing sauce in Poland)
56 - "It is a courts as it is in ponds; some fish, some frogs".....English proverb
57 - "Fish swim best that are bred in the sea".....English proverb
58 - "It is no use fishing in front of the net".....English and Siamese proverb; in the latter the net is a trap
59 - "Affairs, like salt fish, ought to be a good while a-soaking".....English proverb
60 - "Turkeys, carps, hops, pickerel and beer, came into England all in one year".....English proverb, the year being suggested as 1520
61 - "There are white flowers on the fisherman\'s garden".....Irish proverb, meaning the sea is white with breakers
62 - "The miser\'s wedding - a potato and a herring".....Irish proverb
63 - "Life to men and death to fish".....Manx proverb
64 - "One at a time is good fishing".....Scottish proverb
65 - "All\'s fish that comes to the net".....Scottish proverb
66 - "Don\'t gut your fish till you get them".....Scottish proverb
67 - "Let every herring hang by its own tail".....Scottish proverb
68 - "Daughters and dead fish are no keeping ware".....Scottish proverb
69 - "A fish from the river, a tree from the forest, a deer from the mountain, are thefts no man was ever ashamed of".....Scottish proverb
70 - "Put your hand in the creel, take out an adder or an eel".....Scottish marriage proverb
71 - "Dry pants eat no fish".....Bulgarian and Montenegrin proverb
72 - "The fish does not go after the the hook, but after the bait".....Czech proverb
73 - "The fish comes to the rod of him who waits".....Estonian proverb
74 - "When the fish is in the net it wants to get out; when it is out it wants to get in".....Estonian marriage proverb
75 - "One gets the fish one fishes for".....Estonian proverb
76 - "Cheap fish - thin glue".....Estonian proverb
77 - "If a hunter goes into the forest, put the pot aside; if the fisherman goes to fish, put the pot on the fire".....Estonian proverb
78 - "The child also is a help, it cleans one fish and eats two".....Finnish proverb
79 - "Catching one fish is always fishing".....French proverb
80 - "He fishes on who catches one".....French proverb
81 - "If one is a bird one is plucked, if a fish one is scaled".....German proverb
82 - "A woman and a fish speak like two men".....German proverb
83 - "Women and fish are best in the middle".....German proverb
84 - "The fish said. "I have much to say, but my mouth is full of water"".....Georgian proverb
85 - "Go to the sea if you would fish well".....Italian proverb
86 - "Woe to the city in which a fish costs more than an ox".....Latin proverb
87 - "Men make for the shallows, fish for the deep".....Latvian proverb
88 - "A fisherman is wise in the morning, a shepherd in the evening".....Livonian proverb
89 - "A fish bites best on a silver hook".....Norwegian proverb
90 - "No fish without bones, no woman without a temper".....Polish proverb
91 - "The fish dies by its mouth".....Portuguese and Spanish proverb, meaning silence is golden
92 - "Where there is no fish, even the crayfish is deemed fish".....Russian proverb
93 - "You catch fish in troubled waters".....Russian proverb
94 - "One fisherman sees another fisherman from afar".....Russian proverb
95 - "In the pond of lies only dead fish swim".....Russian proverb
96 - "Good luck is an eel in the pond of fools".....Russian proverb
97 - "Who owns the shore owns the fish".....Russian and Ukrainian proverb
98 - "A fisherman\'s mother seldom dines, a hunter\'s never".....Serbian proverb
99 - "The eel escapes quickest when it is held fastest".....Silesian proverb
100 - "One throws away the baked fish when one sees the fresh fish".....Burmese proverb
101 - "Water does not enter the heart of a fish".....Burmese proverb, Shan States, meaning a little brother cannot enter the thoughts of an older one
102 - "Every pond has its fish, every dog has its owner".....Burmese proverb, Shan States, meaning no one is so poor as to be without possessions
103 - "Fowls in a hencoop and fishes in a net, can all be caught with the hand".....Chinese proverb
104 - "Swiftly running water is a good place to catch fish".....Chinese proverb, meaning have your business on a busy street
105 - "There is often a space between the fish and the fish-plate.....Chinese proverb
106 - "A fish on a wall, like cash, has but one eye".....Chinese proverb
107 - "Fish see the bait but not the hook, men see the profit but not the peril".....Chinese proverb
108 - "The fish that gets away is always a large one".....Chinese proverb, meaning stolen items are always the best; see later too
109 - "Near putrid fish you\'ll stink, near epidendrum you\'ll be fragrant".....Chinese proverb
110 - "Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish".....Chinese Tao proverb, meaning don\'t overdo it
111 - "He who sees the sky in water sees fishes in the trees".....Chinese proverb
112 - "The fish that has to live in the water should not make an enemy of the alligator".....Indian and Sri Lankan proverb
113 - "It is vain to look for yesterday\'s fish in the house of the otter".....Hindi proverb
114 - "The fish is still in the river, and the woman is pounding chillies" (to eat it with).....Punjabi proverb, meaning don\'t count your chickens before they\'re hatched
115 - "The flowers of the fig tree, a white-coloured crow, a fish\'s feet in the water one may see but not what is in a woman\'s mind".....Sanskrit proverb
116 - "Small fish flock where big ones are".....Japanese proverb
117 - "No fish in clear water".....Japanese proverb
118 - "A fish is larger for being lost".....in various countries expressed in various ways with various meanings form the literal to the figurative; Turkish, Japanese proverb; see also above
119 - "The fish that is golden shall swim in the sun".....Japanese proverb
120 - "One does not discuss the price of a fish that is still in the sea".....Kurdish proverb
121 - "Anything with scales counts as a fish".....Malayan proverb, meaning accepting what comes to hand
122 - "Different holes have different fish".....Malayan proverb, meaning different men have different ways
123 - "Let the fish be caught, but let not the fish-spear be bent".....Malayan proverb, meaning act with discretion
124 - "Fish perish through bait".....Malayan proverb, meaning men are tempted to ruin by women
125 - "Wherever there is water there is fish".....Malayan proverb, meaning there is no smoke without fire. Also in Cambodia
126 - "The fish gives laws to the fishes".....Southern Nigerian proverb
127 - "About a sweet fish there is danger".....Gold Coast proverb
128 - "Familiarity is like the sea which kills the fisherman".....Ugandan proverb
129 - "So-and-so is a fish from a well".....Northern Nigerian proverb, meaning a shy man
130 - "He who knows how to bend the fish-hook, knows how to straighten it".....Northwest Tanganyikan proverb
131 - "A traveller does not buy raw fish".....Southern Nigerian proverb
132 - "Fish that do not feed on other fish do not get proper nourishment:".....Southern Nigerian proverb
133 - "Take not the fish from your neighbour\'s net lest a bone stick in your throat".....Senegambia proverb
134 - "Fish follow their river".....Portuguese South African proverb, meaning people support their own family or tribe
135 - "Don\'t rejoice over the finding of decayed fish, for what killed it would have eaten it if it had been good".....Northern Nigerian proverb
136 - "When the fish is fresh is the time to bend it".....Northern Nigerian proverb
137 - "Cunning does not kill the fish; the killer of the fish is the net".....Nyasaland proverb
138 - "A fisherman will die drowned".....Basutoland proverb
139 - "The fish in the trap begins to think".....Swahili proverb in Zanzibar
140 - "Hunger sleeps in the house of two fishermen".....Swahili proverb in Zanzibar
141 - "The real fish is the first one".....former Portuguese East Africa, meaning be satisfied with the first wife, or with an only child.that has died and no more are born
142 - "Fish remain in the curves of the river".....former Portuguese East Africa, meaning men remain where there is peace
143 - "When a fish is killed, its tail is put in its mouth".....Southern Nigerian proverb, said of those who reap the fruits of their misfortune
144 - "He who goes with fish must eat worms".....Surinam proverb
145 - "Fishermen never see the fish\'s stink".....Georgian proverb, meaning one\'s own child is good
146 - "The bigger the fish the more butter him take".....Jamaican proverb
147 - "All kind of fish eat man, only shark get blame".....Jamaican proverb
148 - "When the bait is worth more than the fish, \'tis time to stop fishing".....American proverb
149 - "Your luck ain\'t always equal to the length of your pole".....American proverb
150 - "The size of your fish has made you disloyal".....Maori proverb, meaning too great luck has made you arrogant
151 - "Taking an eel by its tail and a woman at her word leaves little in the hand".....Swedish proverb
152 - "Rather endure the flatulencies (or gurgling) of the camel than the prayers of the fishes".....Arabic proverb
153 - "Those who wear pearls do not know how often the shark bites the leg of the diver".....Abyssinian proverb
154 - "The junk capsizes and the shark has his bellyful".....Malayan proverb
155 - "You need to bait the hook to catch the fish".....unattributed proverb
156 - "All cats love fish but hate to get their paws wet".....unattributed proverb
157 - "You can\'t free a fish from water".....unattributed proverb
158 - "Summertime and the living is easy, Fish are jumping, and the cotton is high".....Porgy and Bess, 1935, Ira Gershwin and Du Bose Heyward
159 - "Freedom for the pike is death for the minnows".....Equality, 1938, R. H. Tawney
160 - "Everything seems beautiful because you don’t understand. Those flying fish, they’re not leaping for joy, they’re jumping in terror. Bigger fish want to eat them. That luminous water, it takes its gleam from millions of tiny dead bodies, the glitter of putrescence. There’s no beauty here, only death and decay".....I Walked with a Zombie, 1942, Curtis Siodmak and Jacques Tourneur
161 - "This island is made mainly of coal and surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time".....Speech, 24 May 1945, Aneurin Bevan
162 - "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle"....attributed to Gloria Steinem but a graffito of the 1970s
163 - "Democrats eat the fish they catch; Republicans stuff ’em and hang ’em on the wall".....Sean Donlon, 23 October 1981, Washington Post
164 - "Fish have water, the bushmen of the Kalahari have sand, and Houstonians have interior décor"....America: A User\'s Guide, 1990, Simon Hoggart
165 - "Caviar comes from virgin sturgeon, Virgin sturgeon\'s a mighty fine fish, Virgin sturgeon needs no urgin\', That\'s why caviar is my dish!"....Anonymous
166 - "Shad roe comes from scarlet shad fish, Shad fish have a very sad fate, Pregnant shad fish is a sad fish, Got that way without a mate!".....Anonymous
167 - "The trout is just a little salmon, Just half-grown, and minus scales, But the trout, just like the salmon; Can\'t get on without his tail!".....Anonymous
168 - "Give a thought to the happy codfish, Always there when duty calls, Female cod fish is an odd fish, From her come your cod fish balls!".....Anonymous
169 - "Who hears the fish when they cry?".....Henry David Thoreau, 184
170 - "To believe that a frog is a fish because it lives in the water" (appearances can be deceiving).....Dominican prover
171 - "Piscem natare doces" (you\'re teaching a fish to swim).....Latin prover
172 - "A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm"..... William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, sc. iii
173 - "No fog, no fish, out of the fog and into the fat, the more fog, the more fish"..... Newfoundland prover
174 - "No curlew, no herring"..... Labrador proverb based on the erroneous belief that curlew ate herring
175 - "As cold as a cod\'s nose".....Newfoundland prover
176 - "Codfish is cod by name and by nature".....Newfoundland prover
177 - "No cod, no cash".....Newfoundland prover
178 - "Sly as a conner.....Newfoundland proverb (a conner is the wrasse Tautogolabrus adpserus
179 - "A March-wisher is never a good fisher".....English proverb from Devon, meaning unknown, but presumably referring to the early season being unproductiv
180 - "As dry as a hake"..... English dialect, meaning very thirsty
181 - "When there are no fish, even a crab is a fish" the Russian equivalent to the English proverb “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”

Dictionary of ichthyology. 2009.

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