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Thread: Go fishing

  1. #1
    learningnotes is offline Newbie
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    Go fishing

    I'm not quite sure of the meaning of this idiom, and got a bit confused by other similar sounding phrases like "go fish" and "gone fishing".

    From the lyrics below, I think it means "to give up trying hard" but I need to know if it's correct:

    "You can waste a whole lifetime trying to be
    What you think is expected of you
    But you'll never be free

    May as well go fishing"
    (Chris Rea)

    Thank you! :)

  2. #2
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    Re: Go fishing

    If you go fishing, you go to a river or to the sea and try to catch fish using a line, hook or net. You then either kill and eat the fish or you throw it back in the sea still alive.

    I don't think the phrase has a hidden meaning in the song lyrics, but you have to remember that song lyrics don't have to make sense and they're not always grammatically correct.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    learningnotes is offline Newbie
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    Re: Go fishing

    Thank you emsr2d2!
    The phrase can certainly be used in the literal sense but I've done a search and seen it in another lyrics in the non-literal sense, and is synonymous with "gone fishing". Here's part of the song "Gone fishing"'s lyrics:

    "I'll tell you why I can't find you
    Every time I go out to your place...

    You gone fishin' (well how you know)
    Well there's a sign upon your door (uh-huh)
    Gone fishin' (I'm real gone man)
    You ain't workin' anymore (could be)
    There's your hoe out in the sun
    Where you left a row half done
    You claim that hoein' ain't no fun (well I can prove it)
    You ain't got no ambition."


  4. #4
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Re: Go fishing

    not a teacher

    A couple of points first.

    I agree with emsr2d2 that in many cases it's best that song lyrics are not examined too closely.
    The lyrics of the Louis Armstrong song in post #3, although intended to be humorous, could still be taken literally in the rural context that the song evokes.

    However, sometimes "Gone fishing (or fishin')" is used as a metaphor for taking a break from day-to-day life, making yourself unavailable, ignoring expectations or responsibilities. So, although the Chris Rea line could also be taken literally, I do feel that your suggestion is relevant in that this metaphoric sense of "gone fishing" is part of the line's intended flavour.

    These examples are from the Corpus of Contemporary American English.
    About people in the lounge of a public swimming pool: "They are solitaries, their noses buried in books, their minds gone fishing".
    A famous opera star talking about the demands on his time: "When you are one of the world's leading bass-baritones, it's hard to hang up a sign that says 'Gone Fishing'.
    The puzzling story line of the novel "The Big Sleep": "The part of your brain that cares about plot just quietly hangs out a Gone Fishin' sign, leaving the rest of you to bask in the pure glory of the language.

  5. #5
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    Re: Go fishing


  6. #6
    learningnotes is offline Newbie
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    Re: Go fishing

    Thank you to all for the contributions. I enjoyed the song, too!

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