Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman


      • expressing distaste or disgust
        To show disapproval or disdain towards someone or something

      • surprise or shock
        To express surprise or shock upon discovering something unexpected or unusual

      • threat or warning
        To warn someone of danger or retribution, especially when uttered by a giant in a fairy tale

    Examples of Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman

    • The investigation into the mysterious disappearance of the CEO fie, foh, fum, smells like a cover-up by his English subordinates.

      The idiom "Fie, foh, fum" is used to describe a situation where one suspects foul play or a conspiracy, implying that something sinister is afoot. In this instance, the investigator believes that the disappearance is being concealed by the CEO's English employees, a situation that produces an eerie and foreboding atmosphere.

    • As the detective scrutinized the CCTV footage, fie, foh, fum, he caught a glimpse of the English suspect fleeing the scene of the crime.

      Here, the idiom is used to indicate that the detective has made a crucial discovery that leads him closer to solving the case. It reinforces the sense of danger and intrigue associated with the idiom, emphasizing the potential for an English individual to be involved in a nefarious act.

    • The finance director's financial statements fie, foh, fum, seemed too good to be true, raising suspicions of financial malpractice by the English accounting team.

      Here, the idiom is used to describe a situation where something appears too perfect to be genuine, creating doubt and further enquiring into the matter. If an individual or a group is English, there's an added element of suspicion, implying that an English person may be involved in financial misdoings, especially in a professional setting.

    • The British politicians' remarks fie, foh, fum, reeked of political intrigue, suggesting that they were hiding something sinister.

      The idiom is used here to indicate that the politicians' comments were suspicious, suggesting that they may be hiding something from the public. The use of the word 'British' alongside the idiom accentuates the expected sense of intrigue and conspiracies associated with the idiom, throwing a spotlight on British politicians' statements that aroused suspicion.

    • The detective, Sherlock Holmes, could sense that the killer was near by the distinctive odor in the air. With a loud exclamation, he proclaimed, "Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman!"

      The idiom, "Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman" is used to express the confidence that someone has in detecting or identifying something, often before others are aware of it. In this example, Sherlock Holmes uses the idiom to reveal that he knows the murderer is nearby and has recently committed a violent act against an Englishman. The line is taken from Sir Walter Scott's poem "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" and has become a popular cultural reference for identifying someone who is very good at something. In this case, Sherlock Holmes' expertise as a detective is conveyed through the use of this idiom.

    • In order to capture the notorious thief, the detective uttered the old English phrase, "Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman," signaling to his team to follow his lead.

      The phrase "Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman" is a classic example of a statement that seems ominous but ultimately proves to be misleading. In this instance, the detective's use of the phrase is simply a quirky way of alerting his team to a possible English suspect, as he believes that the thief's presence is strong enough to be detected by scent. The phrase has become synonymous with Sherlock Holmes, as it is often attributed to him in popular culture, but its origins can be traced back to a fourteenth-century nursery rhyme called "Sir Clyve of Oxenford." The meaning of the phrase has been debated by scholars for centuries, as it seems to contain a mix of Latin and Anglo-Saxon words that do not make clear sense. Some interpretations suggest that it may have been a method of warding off evil spirits, while others believe that it was simply a jumble of nonsense words spoken for the sake of rhyme. Regardless of its origin, the phrase has become an enduring part of English literature and folklore, due in part to its ominous and mysterious tone. It serves as a reminder that sometimes, the most ominous-sounding phrases may actually be harmless or downright misleading, much like the detective's use of the phrase in this example.


    The idiom "Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman" has multiple meanings, all of which convey strong emotions. The first meaning is to express distaste or disgust towards someone or something. This can be used in a situation where one is repulsed by the actions or behavior of another person, or when something is unpleasant or undesirable.

    The second meaning is to show surprise or shock. This can be used in a situation where one is taken aback by something unexpected or unusual. It conveys a sense of disbelief and amazement.

    The third meaning is a threat or warning. This is often used in literature or fairy tales, where a giant utters the words to warn someone of danger or retribution. It can also be used in a playful manner, similar to the phrase "I'm going to get you" in a game of tag.

    Origin of "Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the English fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk," first published in 1734 by Benjamin Tabart. In the story, a giant named Blunderbore utters the words "Fie, foh, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman" upon smelling the presence of Jack, the protagonist.

    The phrase is believed to originate from an old English curse, "Fie, foh, and fum, I smell the blood of a British man," which was used to ward off evil spirits. Over time, the phrase evolved and was popularized through various retellings of the fairy tale.

    Today, the idiom is commonly used as a playful expression to convey different emotions such as disgust, surprise, and threat. It has also been adapted in popular culture, with variations such as "I smell the blood of an English football fan" or "I smell the blood of an American."