coals to Newcastle


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coals to Newcastle

Needless or superfluous action. (Newcastle was long the epicenter of coal mining in England.) Typically used in the phrases "carry coals to Newcastle" and "take coals to Newcastle." Why did you bring DVDs with you when I have a home theater? That's like carrying coals to Newcastle.
See also: coal, Newcastle

coals to Newcastle

something brought or sent to a place where it is already plentiful.
Coal from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in northern England was famously abundant in previous centuries, and carry coals to Newcastle has been an expression for an unnecessary activity since the mid 17th century.
See also: coal, Newcastle

(carry/take) coals to ˈNewcastle

(British English) (supply) something that there is already a lot of: Exporting wine to France would be like taking coals to Newcastle.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in the north of England, was once an important coal-mining centre.
See also: coal, Newcastle

coals to Newcastle, to carry/bring

To do something that is unnecessary or superfluous. The Newcastle referred to is the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a seaport in northeastern England that was given a charter to mine coal by Henry III in 1239 and became a major coal center. By the seventeenth century this metaphor for bringing an unneeded thing was current, and it remained so in all English-speaking countries. There were (and are) equivalents in numerous languages. In French it is to carry water to a river.
See also: bring, carry, coal

coals to Newcastle

Any unnecessary activity. Before the days of railroading, goods and commodities were transported by water. Coal in particular was shipped to port city of Newcastle before being distributed to the rest of England. Therefore, unless you were the captain of a ship laden with coal, carrying that kind of fossil fuel to Newcastle was a waste of your time and energy.
See also: coal, Newcastle
References in periodicals archive ?
To 'carry coals to Newcastle' means to do something that is obviously superfluous.
He actually went on to sell coals to Newcastle, an idiom still commonly used today to refer to a pointless action.
The "coals to Newcastle" move sees plans for 15 venues on the sub-continent in the next five years.
YOU'VE heard of selling ice to the Eskimos, sand to the Arabs and coals to Newcastle but how about Welsh stout to the Land of Guinness?
Julie Thompson, Newmarket Home from home Barry Hills sending Redwood to Canada must surely be a case of taking coals to Newcastle!
He buys tea in China, sells chilli sauce in India (his version of coals to Newcastle), invests in inflatable surfboards, and finally makes a killing on sustainable teak, without ever forgetting 'that making a living is about exactly that - living'.
IT may be the standup version of selling coals to Newcastle!
A source said: "He may be Goldenballs but it's like sending coals to Newcastle.
It could perhaps best be described as a classic case of bringing coals to Newcastle. Nevertheless, undaunted, the folks at Rogue Creamery of Central Point, Ore., set up their stand at the SIAL trade fair in Paris this past October.
ALONG the lines of taking coals to Newcastle and snow to Eskimos, Knowsley-based drinks company Halewood International has been giving vodka to Russians.
Never mind coals to Newcastle, Panesar Foods of West Bromwich is exporting Mexican chilli pepper sauce to the Mexicans, with help from UK Trade & Investment (formerly Trade Partners UK)--the government body dedicated to providing UK companies with global expertise on international trade and investment.
Well, 30-plus years later all the mines have disappeared and we are now buying from abroad and literally bringing coals to Newcastle!
The anticipated fall-off of wood imports will be as significant as the 'coals to Newcastle' type of situation we had.
IT'S the musical equivalent of coals to Newcastle - bringing a Beatles show to Liverpool.
Mum-of-two Anita, of Houston, Renfrewshire - who runs Jenier World of Teas in Bridge of Weir - said: "It's a long-distance version of selling coals to Newcastle.