smell a rat

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English[edit]

Verb[edit]

smell a rat

  1. (idiomatic) To sense something suspicious.
    • 1663, John Dryden, The Wild Gallant: A Comedy, act 4, sc. 1:
      Oh, are you thereabouts, sir? then I smell a rat, i’faith; but I'll say nothing.
    • 1874, Anthony Trollope, Phineas Redux, ch. 40:
      Mr. Gresham, when he heard this, thought that he began to smell a rat, and was determined to be on his guard.

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