I was in a meeting today with a Romanian man, mid-40s, clearly well-educated. His first language was, I believe, Romanian. In any case, he used a lot of expressions as he spoke, and whilst they were all basic expressions one would hear from a native speaker, it struck me as pleasant that he spoke like this in what was, to him, a foreign language. A one point during the meeting, however, he used an expression which I believe was meant to indicate the futility of something - specifically, he said it was "[tantamount to] running on paddlers' fins". I had never heard this before so I jotted it down, but after the meeting, I couldn't find it anywhere! Has anyone heard this before? (The man was making Star Trek references and quotes in English, I don't think he just translated it on the spot, it flowed so naturally). Please help!
- Is this an established expression?
- What does it specifically mean?