T-learning # Idiom
Speak Like a Native

to fish for compliments

Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to try and make someone feel good about themselves

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b) to try and make someone praise you

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To fish for compliments means to act in a way that gets people to give you compliments, often by criticising yourself.

French translation

aller à la pêche aux compliments

How NOT to translate : *pêcher des compliments


Examples in context

‘The power of words

I am a page, and the way I live etches words on to me and creates a story for the world to see. Words have catalyzed and stirred nations into revolution and triumph, and with a single word, the nations have succumbed to nothing.
Words have lifted me up, words have brought me down.

Words have excited me, congratulated me, thanked me and filled my heart with glee. On the other hand, words have broken me, hurt me, and killed me. Words have inspired ambition while increasing rationality. Words have comforted many for the hope of a better tomorrow.

Words do not stand on street corners and beg for pity, words do not fish for compliments or gratitude. They are content in doing their job without recognition from others.’

The Huffington Post, 22 January 2015


‘Highly exercised about gyms – and how not to fall into the olive trap

The worst aspect of the gym is the trainer. God, I try to avoid trainers to save my life. First, like hairdressers or even barbers, they talk too much, and worse still, they talk rubbish or inanities. They also make us feel guilty because they are so fit and we are the opposite. It is irritating to have a goody two-shoes around, smug and superior.

On the whole, I would like to see gyms shutting down rather than growing. When they are commercial and have a bland room with fluorescent lighting over 100 pieces of machinery, I feel sickly tired just looking at it.

And it is disconcerting to see much fitter and more beautiful people around one’s own modesty. In an ideal world, without a gym, I would only like to do four kinds of exercise : I would run for cover, jump to conclusion, jog my memory and stretch my imagination. For a bonus, I might fish for compliments.’

The Financial Times, 7 November 2014


Everyday usage

He keeps saying his work is not good enough, when everyone knows he has the best output in the office. I’m starting to think he is fishing for compliments.

Are you fishing for compliments ? You know that you look pretty today.

c) to try and make someone like you

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