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Stitched up like a kipper

Posted by Gary Martin on June 28, 2006

In Reply to: Stitched up like a kipper posted by Linda on June 27, 2006

: Stitched up like a kipper - where does this come from?

I suspect that this isn't of very long standing and that it was made up by a TV/film scriptwriter. It was used occasionally in Only Fools and Horses, so it may have been John Sullivan. I've a vague recollection of having heard it before that, but I can't recall where.

Stitched up is 20th century slang. You probably know it means swindled or 'to have been the victim of false evidence'. Eric Partridge has an entry for it in his Dictionary of Slang, but there's no mention of kippers.

It sounds as though it ought to mean something. I don't think it does though - the kipper seems to be there just as a verbal flourish. It could relate in some way to a kipper tie - although there doesn't seem to be any obvious link there.

Maybe there's some north country tradition of sewing smoked fish together on the long winter evenings. If not, I would put this down to invention.

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