Carry coals to Newcastle


      • Pointless or unnecessary action
        Doing something that is unnecessary or redundant because it is already abundant or readily available in the given situation or location

      • Futility or uselessness
        Expressing the idea that the action being taken will not produce any desired result or benefit

      • Lack of awareness or understanding
        Implying that the person is unaware of the situation or context, as if they are carrying coal to a place that is already known for its abundant supply of coal

    Examples of Carry coals to Newcastle


      The idiom "carry coals to Newcastle" is often used to convey the idea of a pointless or unnecessary action. It can also indicate futility or uselessness, as well as a lack of awareness or understanding.

      In modern usage, the idiom is typically used in a figurative sense, with "Newcastle" representing a place that is already known for the thing being brought or done. This can include redundant or surplus actions, as well as knowledge or resources that are already readily available.

      Origin of "Carry coals to Newcastle"

      The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the English city of Newcastle upon Tyne, known for its thriving coal industry in the 17th and 18th centuries. The city was a major exporter of coal to other parts of England and Europe, and it was common for ships to carry coal from Newcastle to other ports.

      The idiom itself is believed to have originated from a proverb that was popular among sailors, "To carry coals to Newcastle", which meant to do something that is unnecessary or redundant. Over time, the proverb evolved into the modern idiom we know today.

      Some sources also suggest that the idiom may have been influenced by Greek mythology, specifically the story of Sisyphus who was punished by the gods to roll a boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down again. This can be seen as a futile and pointless action, similar to carrying coals to Newcastle.