Someone will use this phrase when he or she think something is not quite right in a situation. Usually, the human being doesn’t know what is dorn exactly. Rather, that or she has actually a general sense or feeling of suspicion.

You are watching: What does smell a rat mean

Origin of ns Smell a Rat

Although the exact origin is unknown, this expression witnessed its first use in the 1800s. That is unclear exactly how it developed, yet rats frequently hold a an unfavorable connotation, in both a literal and also figurative sense.

Literally speaking, rats are smelly nuisances that carry infections and diseases. Figuratively speaking, a rat is someone who is a snitch or a federal government informant of some kind.


If you odor a rat, you feeling something suspicious about someone in your crew. Probably someone is working through the federal government to turn you in—or over there is a coup planned come overtake you.

Examples of i Smell a Rat

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In the very first example, 2 friends are pointing out recent unemployment.

Marcus: i have been using to tasks for a while now, and no one will hire me. I don’t recognize what’s wrong!

Patsy: probably you aren’t making a good impression at her interviews. We could do a mock interview if girlfriend think that would certainly help.

Marcus: Actually, the interviews have actually gone great! at a few of them, castle told me I would probably acquire the job. Every they had actually to perform was contact my references.


Patsy: Hm. I smell a rat. That did you list together your references?

Marcus: John, Jacob, and also Smith. Why?

Patsy: You need to remove Jacob. He always gives world terrible references. That’s your difficulty right there.


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In the 2nd example, 2 siblings who are discussing their food purchases usage the idiom.

Angela: What occurred to every the holiday cacao I bought?

Samson: Oh, no you hear? Mom got really hungry and ate it all.

Angela: that’s strange. Mom is allergy to chocolate. I smell a rat.

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Samson: currently that you cite it, ns think it to be Dad who ate it.

Angela: ns think friend stole mine chocolate!

Samson: ns sorry! i couldn’t aid it!

More Examples

In this post excerpt, a person who thinks over there is miscellaneous politically suspicious going on offers the idiom.

In the excerpt below, the idiom is provided in a quote native a guy explaining the his workers know how to point out something suspicious.

Summary

The phrase I smell a rat is one expression that is used to phone call others that something is amiss.


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