What's that got to do with the...?
"What's that got to do with the -- ?" is an idiom denoting an irrelevance or non sequitur in the current discussion.
A common form "what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?", is a retort to an irrelevant suggestion. This facetious usage implies that the topic under discussion might as well be the price of tea in China for all the relevance the speaker's suggestion bears on it. It has been said[by whom?] that this expression has stemmed from economists, who describe everything economic as affecting everything else, trying to find an expression which denotes the farthest logical connection from their current economic focus, in a sort of butterfly effect. In this way, the price of tea in China was used to denote the farthest possibility. It can also be used to denote an irrelevant topic.
In Chekhov's play, "The Cherry Orchard" written in 1903, one of the characters, Lopakhin, says in Act 4, "I guess that doesn't have much to do with the price of eggs."
In the United States, the phrase "What's that got to do with the price of eggs?" has been in use since the 1920s. The variance "of tea in China" seems to date from the 1940s and may be influenced by the idiom All the Tea in China. The British equivalent is "What's that got to do with the price of fish?" or "What's that got to do with the price of meat?". A Scottish variation is "What's that got to do with the price of cheese?", and a Northern Irish variation is "What's that got to do with the price of a sausage?".
"What has that got to do with the price of rice, right?" was used in the 1976 film, Network.
- Rees, Nigel (2001). Oops, Pardon, Mrs Arden!: An Embarrassment of Domestic Catch Phrases. Robson. pp. 214–5. ISBN 1-86105-440-8.
- Partridge, Eric; Paul Beale (1986). A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day. Routledge. p. 518. ISBN 0-415-05916-X.