"Only dead fish go with the flow"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Jul 9 05:38:44 UTC 2009

On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 11:31 PM, Benjamin
Zimmer<bgzimmer at babel.ling.upenn.edu> wrote:
> Sarah Palin's line "Only dead fish go with the flow" should be in the
> running for Quote of the Year (along with half a dozen Sanfordisms),
> though as a "modern proverb" it's not original to her. Google Books
> suggests it appears in _My Own Alphabet_ by Bobbie Louise Hawkins
> (1989). Any earlier attestations/variations?

I look more deeply into this expression in my latest Word Routes column:


--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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