Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Gudgeon.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Gaping for gudgeons. Looking out for things extremely improbable. As a gudgeon is a bait to deceive fish, it means a lie, a deception.   1
   To swallow a gudgeon. To be bamboozled with a most palpable lie, as silly fish are caught by gudgeons. (French, goujon, whence the phrase faire avaler le goujon, to humbug.)   2
“Make fools believe in their foreseeing
Of things before they are in being;
To swallow gudgeons ere they’re catched,
And count their chickens ere they’re hatched.”
Butler: Hudibras, ii. 3.



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