Bigger Fish To Fry: What Does this Interesting Idiom Mean?

The idiomatic phrase “bigger fish to fry” is can be heard and seen quite often in everyday conversation and writing. Here you will find the meaning of this popular phrase and information about the phrase’s origin. You will also find examples of how to properly use this phrase in conversations/statements and find some suggestions on how you can say this phrase in other words and convey the same meaning.

Bigger Fish To Fry

Bigger Fish To Fry Meaning

The idiomatic expression “bigger fish to fry” means that you have more pressing and important matters to attend to and that the current matter is trivial in comparison.

Origin of the idiom

This phrase first appeared in writing over 400 years ago. However, the phrase is believed to have been in usage long before that since other languages have variations of the phrase that fit their own cultures but mean the same thing. It is believed by most that the phrase first appeared in the Spanish story of Don Quixote. Since this book is one of the oldest books known to man, it is valid proof that this phrase has been used much longer than the 400 years it has existed as part of the English language.

“Bigger Fish To Fry” Examples

Examples in Statements

A statement made by a police officer to another police officer.

  • “Never mind those shoplifters. We just got a call over the radio for a suspect wanted for murder. We have bigger fish to fry.”

A statement made to an entertainment magazine by a celebrity.

  • “I had no choice but to move out of my quiet, sleepy little town. I felt like I had bigger fish to fry and I couldn’t do it from there.”

Examples in Conversations

A conversation between two lawyers.

  • Lawyer 1: Hey, do you want to go to lunch with me today and talk about this case I am working on.
  • Lawyer 2: I would love to, but I have bigger fish to fry. I have to be in court just after lunch.

A conversation between a mother and her son.

  • Son: Mom, are you going to make it to my game tonight?
  • Mother: I don’t think so son. I have to stay home tonight and get some of my work done for tomorrow.
  • Son: Bummer!
  • Mother: Yes, but you will learn soon enough what it is like to have to sacrifice because you have bigger fish to fry.

Other Ways to Say “Bigger Fish To Fry”

There are several other ways you can say this phrase and convey the same meaning. Other ways you can say this instead include:

  • More important things to do
  • I already made plans
  • I already have some prior commitments
  • Better things to do
  • Best thing you can do
  • Other matters to attend to

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