...as much as a fish needs a bicycle - Idiom

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James Brandon

Senior Member
English + French - UK
This idiom is self-explanatory: "We need it [whatever it may be] about as much as a fish needs a bicycle."

Clearly, humorous effect is intended here (a fish does not and cannot ride a bicycle). It is along the lines of: "It is about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike" - apparently an Australian expression.

Back to the fish, and I was wondering where it may have originated, and whether it is used frequently.
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    I believe Waylink has it nailed:

    Gloria Steinem had this to say in a letter she wrote to Time magazine in autumn 2000:
    "In your note on my new and happy marital partnership with David Bale, you credit me with the witticism 'A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.' In fact, Irina Dunn, a distinguished Australian educator, journalist and politician, coined the phrase back in 1970 when she was a student at the University of Sydney. She paraphrased the philosopher who said, 'Man needs God like fish needs a bicycle.'
    source


    Back to the fish, and I was wondering where it may have originated, and whether it is used frequently.
    Oh, about as often as tits on a bull.
     

    James Brandon

    Senior Member
    English + French - UK
    Now you mention the I Dunn connection, I seem to remember hearing her mentioned in connection with the phrase, precisely. Indeed, with IVF and cloning, men will soon be about as useful to women as fish are to bicycles. Then again, riding has its attractions that technology cannot always replace, as fish would not know. :D
     
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