Being “Out of your element”

October 12th, 2007


This is a phrase that I’d like to share with you. It’s fun to use in a slang setting.

If you are “in your element” it means that you are in a situation that you are comfortable and familiar with. Roger Federer is “in his element” on the tennis court.

You could also say, “He’s really outgoing and seems to be in his element when meeting new people.”

If you are “out of your element” it means that you feel awkward and uncomfortable in the situation. Sometimes you can say you “feel like a fish out of water” in that situation. You could say, “His mom feels really out of her element when she is in a strange place. That’s the reason she never travels.”

The fun way to use this expression is to tell someone that they are “totally out of their element”. This means that they don’t know what they are talking about. It can be used during an argument when you believe the other person is talking about a topic that they know nothing about.

My dad doesn’t know any Chinese for example. If he started arguing with me about the language, I could say, “Dad, how can you be arguing about this. You don’t know anything about it. You are way out of your element here”. I would say it in a friendly way of course.

Let me know if you have any questions about using this fun phrase.


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