My most recent post reflected my confusion at the phrase "Carrying coal to New Castle." And my mother likewise shared her thoughts of wondering where they are keeping all that coal? Perhaps under Coaltown Hill? (I jest. This hill near my parents' house is naught but the bane of many a school bus driver during the winter months. If you are from New Castle, this joke is lame. If you're not, this joke is....even lamer.)
Fear not, our dear friend Google is here to help!
The actual phrase is "Carrying coals to Newcastle" and refers to Newcastle, England, which was the UK's first coal exporting port. It does indeed mean to do something "pointless and superfluous" (score points for using context clues!), since Newcastle was itself a rich source of coal.
Related phrases include "carrying owls to Athens" and "selling snow to Eskimos" since, doubtless, Greece already had its fair share of wisdom and Eskimos need no more snow than they have.
Thanks to The Phrase Finder for providing this information, which I have shamelessly copied directly to my blog with little, if any, paraphrasing.
I'm inspired to come up with my own related phrases...how about "giving football lessons to Hines Ward" or "feeding beans to my husband". Sadly, I can't come up with anything clever that has to do with Chick-Fil-A.
2016 Books: 3Q
1 year ago