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strange bedfellows

strange bedfellows in Culture

strange bedfellows definition


Unlikely companions or allies; often used in the phrase “politics makes strange bedfellows.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Examples from the Web for strange bedfellows
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Winter, like poverty, makes us acquainted with strange bedfellows.

    A Year in the Fields John Burroughs
  • Politics and newspaper-editorship bring us strange bedfellows.

    The Call of the Town John Alexander Hammerton
  • Well, there are curious things said about him, and you and he are strange bedfellows!

    Lewis Rand

    Mary Johnston
  • Travelling, no less than adversity, makes us acquainted with strange bedfellows.

    The Argosy Various
  • "Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows," said Trinculo, as he crawled in with Caliban from the storm.

    Wild Life Near Home Dallas Lore Sharp
Idioms and Phrases with strange bedfellows

strange bedfellows

A peculiar alliance or combination, as in George and Arthur really are strange bedfellows, sharing the same job but totally different in their views. Although strictly speaking bedfellows are persons who share a bed, like husband and wife, the term has been used figuratively since the late 1400s. This particular idiom may have been invented by Shakespeare in The Tempest (2:2), “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.” Today a common extension ispolitics makes strange bedfellows, meaning that politicians form peculiar associations so as to win more votes. A similar term isodd couple, a pair who share either housing or a business but are very different in most ways. This term gained currency with Neil Simon's Broadway play The Odd Couple and, even more, with the motion picture (1968) and subsequent television series based on it, contrasting housemates Felix and Oscar, one meticulously neat and obsessively punctual, the other extremely messy and casual.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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