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Soup and Fish

Posted by James Briggs on January 25, 2002

I had a request today, which I can't help with. Any ideas?

Quote: "I have looked in vain for the derivation of the
phrase "soup and fish", when used to mean formal dress, specifically white tie and tail coat. It comes up frequently in Wodehouse, but I have seen it elsewhere as well. I have wondered whether it may be a reference to the dinner that would be consumed while so attired, which would surely include thick or clear soup and a fish course before the meat or game, etc. I have
also wondered about rhyming slang, but can come up with no suitable rhyming word describing such articles of clothing. Have you any ideas?"