carry coals to newcastle

Newcastle

[noo-kas-uhl, -kah-suhl, nyoo-]
noun
1.
1st Duke of, Pelham-Holles, Thomas.
2.
Also called Newcastle-upon-Tyne [noo-kas-uhl-uh-pon-tahyn, -uh-pawn-, -kah-suhl-, nyoo-] . a seaport in Tyne and Wear, in NE England, on the Tyne River: shipbuilding; major coal center.
3.
a seaport in E New South Wales, in SE Australia.
4.
a town in SE Ontario, in S Canada, NE of Toronto, on Lake Ontario.
Idioms
5.
carry coals to Newcastle,
a.
to take something to a place where its kind exists in great quantity.
b.
to do something wholly unnecessary.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Newcastle1 (ˈnjuːˌkɑːsəl)
 
n
a port in SE Australia, in E New South Wales near the mouth of the Hunter River: important industrial centre, with extensive steel, metalworking, engineering, shipbuilding, and chemical industries. It suffered Australia's first recorded fatal earthquake, in 1989. Pop: 279 975 (2001)

Newcastle2 (ˈnjuːˌkɑːsəl)
 
n
Duke of, the title of Thomas Pelham Holles. 1693--1768, English Whig prime minister (1754--56; 1757--62): brother of Henry Pelham

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

carry coals to Newcastle definition


To do something that is obviously superfluous; Newcastle is a city in northeast England where coal is mined: “Karen wanted to give Dad a magazine subscription for his birthday, but I said that would be like carrying coals to Newcastle, since he already has fifteen or twenty subscriptions.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

carry coals to Newcastle

Do or bring something superfluous or unnecessary, as in Running the sprinkler while it's raining, that's carrying coals to Newcastle. This metaphor was already well known in the mid-1500s, when Newcastle-upon-Tyne had been a major coal-mining center for 400 years. It is heard less often today but is not yet obsolete.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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