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"Fish or cut bait"

Posted by ESC on December 22, 1999

In Reply to: Meaning and derivation: "Fish or cut bait" posted by Jay Wild on December 22, 1999

: What is the derviation of the phrase "fish or cut bait"

FISH OR CUT BAIT - From the Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman . "Make a choice now; either fish or 'cut bait' and go home. 'Cut bait' means stop fishing. In other words, do your job or let somebody else do it. Originated in the United States in the nineteenth century among fishermen. Later the saying could be heard even in Congress. On August 5, 1876, Joseph Gurney Cannon, Congressman of Illinois, calling on House to adopt a monetary bill, said, 'Now I want you gentlemen on the other side of the House to 'fish or cut bait'.'."

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