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have other fish to fry

  1. To have more important things to do.
    • c. 1710, Jonathan Swift, The Journal to Stella, ch. 2, Letter 15:
      I have other fish to fry; so good-morrow, my ladies all, good-morrow.
    • 1849, Charlotte Brontë, chapter 20, in Shirley:
      Your uncle will not return yet; he has other fish to fry; he will be galloping backwards and forwards from Briarfield to Stilbro' all day.
    • 1905, George Bernard Shaw, chapter 15, in The Irrational Knot:
      "May I ask whether you will be persuaded to come?"
      "No, for certain. I have other fish to fry here."