phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at

Home button Home | Search the website Search | Phrase Dictionary | A fish out of water

The meaning and origin of the expression: A fish out of water

Browse phrases beginning with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Full List

A fish out of water

Other phrases about:

What's the meaning of the phrase 'A fish out of water'?

Someone who is in a situation they are unsuited to.

What's the origin of the phrase 'A fish out of water'?

This metaphor is quite old. Chaucer used a version of it in The Canterbury Tales: Prologue:

...a monk, when he is cloisterless;
Is like to a fish that is waterless

A fish out of waterThe earliest reference that I can find to the present day wording of the phrase is in Samuel Purchas's Pilgrimage, 1613:

"The Arabians out of the desarts are as Fishes out of the Water."