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In an episode of the television show Archer one character refers to another as being "trout-shouldered."

“This pathetic, trout-shouldered excuse for a boom operator is Chet Manly."

What might this phrase mean?

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Sounds Wodehousian. It means 'having shoulders like a trout', which one could infer that it means having weak to nonexistent shoulders, therefore slouching and ineffectual. You know, lacking fortitude or the wherewithal to face a new day with vigor and a jutting jaw, a manly stride, to take on the trials and that what's it, the you know what to trample down the slings and et cetera, et cetera, and a little more too... Also, fish-faced = no chin, ibid. – Mitch May 17 '13 at 23:29
@Mitch You should apply to the PGW estate to continue the franchise. You've got the language down, and he really only had one plot so that's not a problem ... – StoneyB May 17 '13 at 23:35
It's always possible the speaker is referring to baseball player Mike Trout, who at least has recognisable shoulders (though as the text points out, he seems to have more bulk in his belly and butt than his shoulders). – FumbleFingers May 17 '13 at 23:47
@Mitch in addition to answering my question you also just revealed the inspiration for another character in the show, Woodhouse's, name. – batpigandme May 18 '13 at 0:25
I think @Mitch has the answer in his comment above. – ukayer May 18 '13 at 7:37
up vote 1 down vote accepted

'Trout-shouldered' presumably means

having shoulders like a trout.

This probably means that the writer is implying that person so labeled doesn't have very strong shoulders and so is somewhat weak. This is implying not physical weakness but metaphorical weakness of character.

It is not a set-phrase or idiom meaning something outside of its implications.

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