to smell a rat

Idiom Definition

"to smell a rat"

to suspect or have a feeling that something is wrong in a situation

Idiom Definition - to smell a rat


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to smell a rat

Ned has arrived home after work with a box of chocolates and a large bouquet of flowers for his wife, Grace.  It is not a special occasion.  It is not Grace's birthday.  It is not Valentine's Day.  Ned barely remembers these occasion at the best of times.  This behavior is very uncharacteristic of Ned.  Grace suspects that Ned has done something wrong and the gifts are an apology.

Grace smells a rat!

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to smell a rat

Bill owns a used car business.  One day, a man drives a beautiful $40,000 car onto Bill's lot.  The man asks Bill if Bill wants to buy the car for only $20,000.  Bill suspects that something is wrong with the car.  Bill checks the car.  The car is fine.  Bill asks the man for the paperwork for the car.  Bill examines the papers and gets a bad feeling about the situation because there is just something wrong about the situation.

Bill smells a rat!

to smell a rat - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   452   click for frequency by country

to smell a rat - Gerund Form:

Smelling a rat can save you from making a mistake.

to smell a rat - Examples:

1)  I smell a rat when someone wants to sell me a $10,000 car for $2,000.

2)  You smell a rat when the boss compliments you for no reason.

3)  He smells a rat when something appears too good to be true.

4)  She smells a rat when when her husband brings her flowers for no reason.

5)  The public smells a rat when when a charity will not disclose its expenditures.

6)  We smell a rat when the government tries to hide information.

7)  You (all) smell a rat when reality does not align with what someone is saying.

8)  They smell a rat when the referee always makes decisions in favor of the other team.

9)  A lot of critical thinkers smell a rat. There is a cover-up in the making.

10)  The markets can smell a rat... that began the unraveling of Euro credibility and cohesion.

11)  None of them appeared to smell a rat when representatives of a "South Korean defence company" approached them.

12)  Even a boy could smell a rat at some of these transactions.

13)  And just how does your answer relate to what I posted. I smell a rat. You carrying a little red book there comrade?

14)  They smell a rat. They think they got jobbed.

15)  I smell a rat in the White House that changed the talking points Petraeus referred to.

16)  I must be the oldest person commenting here, because I smell a rat a mile away. 

17)  It is a hoax. I could smell a rat.

18)  Anyway, I smell a rat... this chick is calling ten times a day?

19) Whenever I hear the word' aromatherapy', I smell a rat

20)  Yes, I think that was not right. I smell a rat