a fish out of water

Definition

The idiom ‘a fish out of water’ is used to describe someone who is in a situation that is unfamiliar or uncomfortable.

Examples

I felt like a fish out of water when I attended my first formal dinner party.

He was a fish out of water when he started his new job; he had no idea what he was doing.

I was a fish out of water at the concert; I had no idea what the music was supposed to sound like.

She was a fish out of water in the big city; she had never been so far away from home before.

He was a fish out of water in the job interview; he was so nervous he could barely answer the questions.

Origin

The origin of this idiom is unknown, but it is thought to have originated from the idea that a fish removed from its natural environment would not be able to survive.