carry coals to Newcastle

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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