In Reply to: Re: Sleeps with the fishes posted by Smokey Stover on November 06, 2008 at 03:28:
: : Does anyone know if the phrase "sleeps with the fishes" was originated in the Godfather or if it's roots go back farther than that?
: Most of the colorful figures of speech in The Godfather go back much further. Some, like "sleeps with the fishes" are supposed to refer to Mafia slang from back in the old days in Italy, but I have no source to offer you.,
Cassell's Dictionary of Slang dates "sleep with the fishes" from the 1950s, but The Godfather was only published in 1969; so although it undoubtedly gained circulation from the book, it didn't originate there. There's also a closely related phrase, "feed the fishes" which has been in circulation since the 19th century. (VSD)