a fish out of water

a fish out of water

Meaning | Synonyms

  • being uncomfortable and restless
  • falling into the state of confusion
  • to feel awkward due to a specific/strange situation
  • being in an unusual situation
  • not feeling relaxed
  • away from the familiar environment

Example Sentence

  1. Our new teacher looked like a fish out of the water, nobody was aware of the issue.
  2. We had no clue how to make Phil comfortable with the new management. He was looking like a fish out of the water.
  3. Sara has certainly not looked like a fish out of water in the mathematics lecture, since she is taking some online classes to improve her concepts.
  4. Martin had never been to a supermarket before, so he was looking like a fish out of water when his mother asked him to bring some stuff to cook.


The idiom fish out of water alludes to someone exposed to an unknown situation. This expression makes reference to the fact that fish cannot survive on dry land for a long time which is out their habitat. The earliest reference to be traced is in Samuel Purchas’s Pilgrimage in 1613 as:

“The Arabians out of the desarts are as Fishes out of the water”


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