Could you tell me if the phrase like a fish in water is a valid English phrase meaning feel comfortable in a certain place? For example:

Mike is like a fish in water when he is abroad.

If it's not, then what is the valid phrase to convey the meaning?

1 Answer 1


Honestly I've only ever heard like a fish out of water used to describe someone who's not comfortable in a situation. I suppose you could use the opposite and hope people understand the contrast you're making, but "a fish in water" is the normal, usual, non-notable state of things, so it might not be clear what you're implying.

Mike is in his element when he is abroad is one idiom you can use, there are probably a lot more! Happy as a pig in mud if you want an animal metaphor?

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    There is also "like a duck to water", but that more often follows 'takes': Mike takes to travel(ling) like a a duck to water.
    – Sydney
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 10:46
  • @Sydney oh yeah, I think that's a better fit for the tone! t's more like "he's comfortable and handles things well" instead of just "he's happy and enjoying himself" Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 12:17

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