Posted by Masakim on January 07, 2002 at

In Reply to: Phrase posted by Word Camel on January 07, 2002

: : Where did Hook Line and Sinker originate from and what exactly does it mean?

: It refers to fishing. Fishing involves a hook, fishing line and a lead weight called a sinker that helps the hook stay down at the depth where the fish are feeding. A fish may nibble at the bait, but when it takes the hook - and by association, the line and the sinker, it is well and truly caught.

: For someone to fall for a deception "hook, line and sinker" means to accept it without question, or to take the bait.

: I'm not sure where it was first used.

Hook, Line and Sinker. Everything; all of it. The implication of this image from fishing is that the person who swallows a tale or an idea "hook, line and sinker" is rather gullible, since the tale or idea may not stand up to hard scrunity. This phrase originated in the United States about the middle of the 19th century, but a much older English phrase ("to swallow a gudgeon") embodied the same idea. A dudgeon is a small fish used for bait. John Lyly in _Eupheus_ writes: "You have made both me and Philautus to swallow a Gudgeon."
From The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers

We are gone, hook, line and sinker. (Thurlow Weed, ed. T.W. Barnes, _Memoirs_, 1884)

A couple of private dicks that you don't know anything about show up with a cock-and-bull story, and you swallow it hook, line, and sinker. (E.S. Gardner, _The Case of the Stuttering Bishop_)