I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe an activity which is not liked by everybody. You either like it or you don't. This word or phrase shouldn't be critical. I don't mean to say that somebody's interests don't make any sense. What I do mean is that I'm not someone who might be interested in this kind of activity, I'm not the right person to take it up.

For example:

Would you like to try canoeing? - Not really. It's ... (only for those who really like this kind of activity but I'm not one of them).

  • There are two ways this question can go - are you looking for a word that describes something you, aka an individual, doesn't like? Or are you looking for a word for something people generally do not like?
    – BruceWayne
    Apr 9, 2018 at 16:30
  • 2
    @BruceWayne Given the example (in particular the "but I'm not one of them" part), I'd say it's an individual's lack of interest in the activity.
    – JJJ
    Apr 9, 2018 at 17:11
  • 1
    @BruceWayne A word or phrase which describes my lack of interest but doesn't sound rude to others because I don't mean to say that someone's interests are strange or something.
    – Enguroo
    Apr 10, 2018 at 1:05

9 Answers 9


Would you like to try canoeing? - Not really. It's not to my taste/liking.
Would you like to try canoeing? - Not really. It's not right/just up/down my alley/street.


to someone's taste idiom
: liked by someone
The movie was not to their taste.

to someone's liking idiom
: appealing or enjoyable to someone
She reads poetry, but fiction is much more to her liking.


right up your alley [mainly AMERICAN] If something is right up your alley, it is the kind of thing you like or know about.
This should be right up my alley but, despite the film's special effects, I found it rather boring.
Note: You can also say that something is right down your alley.
I'll need whatever information you can turn up within the week. This case seems right down your alley.
Note: The usual British expression is right up your street.

Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

  • 2
    I've never seen "right up my alley" used in the negative like that.
    – Kevin
    Apr 9, 2018 at 19:31
  • Yeah up your alley is generally positive...
    – Jason_c_o
    Apr 9, 2018 at 20:02

It's not everybody's/my/... cup of tea.

not (one's) cup of tea:

Not something one prefers, desires, enjoys, or cares about.

Thank you for the invitation, but long-distance cycling just isn't really my cup of tea.

When I found out that reading wasn't his cup of tea, I knew that there wasn't much of a relationship in store between us.

Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


not one's cup of tea

Fig. not one's choice or preference. (Used to describe an activity you do not enjoy. Can sound somewhat affected.)

You three visit the museum without me. Looking at fussy old paintings is not my cup of tea.

Going to church, Mary said, was not her cup of tea.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

The more general statement not everybody's cup of tea is also idiomatic; it appears as a title in this article in the Economist (on voting reform in the UK). As one might expect, there is more of a 'British English' flavour. But as this thread shows, it is not uncommon in the United States.


You could simply say not my kind of thing:

somebody’s kind of person/thing/place etc

the type of person, thing, place etc that someone usually likes

Your example:

— Would you like to try canoeing?
— Not really. It's not my kind of thing.

Another good and very common expression would be not one's bag:

To not be something one prefers, desires, enjoys, or cares about.


Thank you for the invitation, but long-distance cycling just isn't really my bag.

  • 4
    Also often simplified to "it's not my thing."
    – barbecue
    Apr 9, 2018 at 16:40

You could say [it / canoeing] is not for me, according to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:

something is not for somebody: used to say that something is not the kind of thing that someone likes or will enjoy

In your example:

Would you like to try canoeing? - Not really. It's not for me.

Or alternatively:

Would you like to try canoeing? - No, canoeing is not really for me.

Attribution: "Something Is Not for Somebody." Something Is Not for Somebody | Meaning of Something Is Not for Somebody in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | LDOCE. Accessed April 09, 2018. https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/something-is-not-for-somebody.


For canoeing specifically:

Q) Would you like to try canoeing?

A) No thanks, canoeing doesn't float my boat


Do you remember your first taste of black coffee? I remember asking as a child why adults liked it so much if it tasted so bad. I was told it was an acquired taste, which may be what you're looking for.

Another phrase that might fit is you either love it or you hate it.

  1. I'm not into canoeing. (informal)

  2. Sorry, canoeing's not for me (neutral)

  3. Can't say I'm a fan of ____. (informal)

  4. I'm not wild about ___. (informal)

  5. I'm not [terribly] keen on ___ (formal)


  1. Canoeing is out of my comfort zone
  2. It's out(side) of my wheelhouse
  3. I'm out of my element

The OP's sample sentence would need to be tweaked a little

Would you like to try canoeing? - No, I'm out of my element where canoeing is concerned.

[Users are free to add any other expressions or idioms that come to mind.]


A related concept is "acquired taste", which technically refers to something which hardly anybody likes the first time they try it, but that some grow to quite like. Strong cheeses, for example, or peaty whisky. But I do also hear it used, as a bit of a euphemism, for things which hardly anybody likes at all.

In arts and culture, "cult favourite" fits the definition.


Not sure if this is exactly what you seek, but Floccinaucinihilipilification is sure to bring colour to your vocabulary ! :-) (—flocksi-nausi-nihili-pili-fication-)

The act of finding something unimportant or plain bs. — ((what can I say except you’re welcome.)) ;P

  • 1
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