We’ve all heard the expression “don’t take sand to the beach,” but do we know what it really means? It seems obvious not to take sand to the beach if you think about it because sand is abundant there already. So, what is the real meaning behind and the origin of “don’t bring sand to the beach?
“Don’t bring sand to the beach” describes a pointless or redundant act. For example, don’t bring coffee to a coffee shop. The origin of the expression came from a guy telling his friend not to bring his girlfriend along to a place where there would be a ton of other girls to flirt with.
If you want to know how the phrase “don’t bring sand to the beach” originated, you’ve come to the right place, and you’re not alone. Many people have asked the same question, and this article will give you all the answers you were searching for.
What Is The Origin Of Don’t Bring Sand To The Beach?
The exact origin of this expression is unknown, but the meaning of the expression itself is well known and used more often than you think.
Simply put, “don’t bring sand to the beach” means that you shouldn’t bring something to a location where there is already an abundance of it because it would be completely pointless. You can use this expression in various situations such as;
- Bringing coffee to a coffee house is as good as bringing sand to the beach.
- Don’t take food to the restaurant; you might as well bring sand to the beach.
- Don’t bring lunch to an event that has been catered for; it would be like bringing sand to the beach.
- Don’t take beer to a bar; it’s about as good as taking sand to the beach.
- Don’t bring candy to a candy store, just like you don’t bring sand to the beach
Other idioms and expressions that are similar to “don’t bring sand to the beach” that also describes unnecessary or pointless actions include;
- “It is like looking for a needle in a haystack” – trying to find a needle in a haystack is near impossible, making it an unnecessary task to undertake.
- “Don’t go chasing ghosts” – It is pointless chasing ghosts because you will never ever catch them; they are dead.
- “Don’t cry over spilt milk” – there is no point in being upset about something that has already occurred. You would be wasting your time on something unnecessary.
- “Selling snow to an Eskimo” – The best salesman in the world couldn’t sell snow to an Eskimo because an Eskimo lives in the snow and does not need any more of it.
- “To bring (or take) water to the sea” – The sea is water, so bringing water to the sea would be completely pointless; you might as well bring sand to the beach.
- “To bring (or to take) coal to Newcastle” – Historically, Newcastle upon Tyne’s (situated in north-eastern England) economy was largely dependent on the sale and distribution of coal. So, any attempt to take or sell coal to Newcastle would be pointless and foolhardy. It would literally be the same as taking sand to the beach.
- “Going fishing in the desert” – There is no water in the desert, let alone fish. So, going fishing in the desert would be completely redundant.
The initial meaning of the idiom is;
“To do or undertake something redundant, pointless, or futile, usually in the context of bringing something to a location where it is abundant or unnecessary.”
Example: “The company always caters lunch for these meetings, so I don’t know why you bring in your own sandwich. You might as well bring sand to the beach!”
Let’s look at what others had to say about this expression (quotes from Quora);
“To bring (or to take) sand to the beach” means to bring or to take something to a place that already has it in abundance. In a more general sense, it means to do something that is superfluous or unnecessary.” – Anonymous.
“The idiom basically means don’t bring your girlfriend/wife to a place where there will be a lot of girls. For instance, bringing your wife to Vegas would be like ‘bringing sand to the beach.’ You won’t be able to enjoy the company of all the beautiful women if you have your significant other with you.” – Anonymous.
“The beach is made of sand. So, when you are going to contribute something new and you instead bring an old idea, you are “bringing sand to the beach.” Generally speaking, if what you have to offer is already obvious, then remain silent.” – Anonymous
The expression has become very popular, and the artist Kinnda (Kinda Vivianne Hamid), a Swedish singer/songwriter, even wrote a song about this expression titled “Don’t Bring Sand to The Beach.” In the song’s chorus, she explains the original meaning of the expression very clearly. See Kinnda’s lyrics below;
“Don’t bring sand to the beach, ’cause you never know who you meet
You might feel the heat and meet the one of your dreams
Yeah, you need to feel free when you gonna party
Don’t bring sand to the beach (Oh yeah), so you can be wild and be free
And do what you need
Have your space and just breathe
So you can get wild, get loose, and rock to that beat.”
Even though most of the opinions and definitions presented in this article seem and sound different, they all have the same thing in common. The meaning of each expression comes down to a person performing or is about to perform an unnecessary or irrelevant task or action.
We hope this article has provided you with the answer you were looking for, and now you can try and use it in conversation the next time someone is about to do something they might as well not waste their time on.