Online Dictionary

neither fish nor fowl Explained

neither fish nor fowl at English => English (English Thesaurus) Of Explained:

[N] (Nonconformity): {out of one's element}: fish out of water, neither one thing nor another, neither fish nor fowl, outcast, outlaw.

neither fish nor fowl at English (WD) Of Explained:



Inter: head » en|noun|head=neither fish nor fowl
  • Inter: idiomati » c Something or someone which is not easily categorized; something or someone that does not rightly belong or fit well in a given group or situation.
    1. 1885, Category: w - :Charlotte M. Yonge|Charlotte M. Yonge, The Two Sides of the Shield, ch. 18:
    2. : I know I should hate being there without you; I'm a great old thing, as Jasper says, neither fish nor fowl, you know, not come out, and not a little girl in the schoolroom, and it would be very horrid going to a grand place like that on one's own account.
    3. 1919, Category: w - :E. Phillips Oppenheim|E. Phillips Oppenheim, The Box with Broken Seals, ch. 7:
    4. : "To tell you the truth," he confided, "I am a little tired of my job. Neither fish nor fowl, don't you know."
    5. 1993, Category: w - :Jon Pareles|Jon Pareles, "Arts: Playing in Reunion, Cream Is the Finale Of Rock Ceremonies," New York Times (retrieved 12 Oct 2012):
    6. : Ms. James, who has been a blues, rhythm-and-blues, funk and soul singer, said she no longer had to worry about being "neither fish nor fowl."
    7. 2008 Dec. 30, Bob Sommer, "The Education of David Frost," (retrieved 12 Oct 2012):
    8. : “Docudrama” is by its nature a confusing genre—neither fish nor fowl.

      Usage notes

      * This expression appears to have acquired its current, idiomatic usage in the 19th century. In the 17th through the 18th centuries it was used primarily literally, as illustrated by the following:

    :* 1688, Category: w - :Edmund Bohun|Edmund Bohun, A Geographical Dictionary . . . of the Whole World, (Google books preview):
    :*: The Air is clear and gentle, the Earth fruitful both to Grass and Corn, so that it affords plenty of Butter, Cheese, and Cattle, and being well watered with Rivers, wants neither fish nor fowl.
    :* 1775, Category: w - :John Hawkesworth (book editor)|John Hawkesworth (editor), An Account of the Voyages Undertaken by the Order of His Present Majesty, for Making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, Dublin, p. 156 (Google books preview):
    :*: There is good landing all round the bay. . . . We found a little celery and a few cranberries, but neither fish nor fowl.


    Inter: trans-top » something or someone not easily categorized; something that does not fit in a group or situation
    • Chinese:
    • : Mandarin: Inter: t- » cmn|非驢非馬|sc=Hani, Inter: t+ » cmn|非驴非马|tr=fēilǘfēimǎ|sc=Hani, Inter: t » cmn|不三不四|tr=bùsānbùsì|sc=Hani
    • Czech: Inter: t- » cs|ani ryba ani rak
    • Danish: Inter: t- » da|hverken fugl eller fisk
    • Dutch: Inter: t- » nl|vlees noch vis
    • Finnish: Inter: t- » fi|ei lintu eikä kala

    Inter: trans-mi » d
  • German: Inter: t- » de|weder Fisch noch Fleisch
  • Icelandic: Inter: t+ » is|hvorki fugl né fiskur, Inter: t- » is|viðrinislegur|m
  • Latin: Inter: t- » la|homo nulli coloris|alt=homō nūlli colōris
  • Russian: Inter: t+ » ru|ни рыба ни мясо|tr=ni rýba ni mjáso lit.: neither fish nor meat, Inter: t+ » ru|ни то ни сё|tr=ni to ni sjo|sc=Cyrl lit.: neither that nor this, Inter: t+ » ru|ни два ни полтора|tr=ni dva ni poltorá|sc=Cyrl lit.: neither two nor one and a half, Inter: t- » ru|ни богу свечка, ни чёрту кочерга|tr=ni bógu svéčka, ni čórtu kočergа́ lit.: neither a candle for the God, nor a poker for the Devil
  • Spanish: Inter: t- » es|ni chicha ni limonada, Inter: qualifier » Mexico Inter: t- » es|ni de aquí ni de allá
  • Swedish: Inter: t- » sv|varken fågel eller fisk

  • Inter: trans-botto » m

    See also

    * neither here nor there
    Translation: et » neither fish nor fowl