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Meaning and Usage
“A fish out of water” is an idiomatic expression used to describe someone who feels uncomfortable or out of place in a new or unfamiliar environment, or who is in a situation that they are not used to. It can also refer to someone who is not in their natural element or who is not suited for a particular situation.
- “I’m used to living in the city, so when I visited my friend’s farm, I felt like a fish out of water.”
- “After spending most of her life in the country, moving to the big city made her feel like a fish out of water.”
- “The new employee struggled to adapt to the company’s fast-paced environment and felt like a fish out of water.”
The phrase “a fish out of water” is believed to have originated in the 1600s, when the idea of fish being unable to breathe on land was first explored. It became a metaphor for people who were in unfamiliar surroundings and unable to thrive.
- out of place
- ill at ease