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work both ways

Slang definitions & phrases for work both ways

work both ways

verb phrase

To suggest or entail a necessary contrary; have double and opposite application: Most often the claim of mental cruelty works both ways in a marriage/ I see your point, but don't you see it cuts two ways?

[originally fr the notion of a two-edged sword]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Examples from the Web for work both ways
Historical Examples
  • In these, as in their predecessors, are striking cases of rules that work both ways.

    Inventors at Work George Iles
  • But if motives are to be brought in question, the rule should work both ways.

    Money John P. Jones
  • The rule must work both ways, or the argument falls to the ground.

  • An infinite supply of courtesy would, of course, be a priceless asset to him, but does not this work both ways?

  • Perhaps it is upon the presumption that "it is a poor rule that will not work both ways."

    The Bible Of Bibles; Kersey Graves
  • It was a poor law, he thought, that would not work both ways.

  • He said to himself that this was unreasonable; it was a poor rule that would not work both ways.

    The Quality of Mercy W. D. Howells
  • Nor have I any objection to stating the same rule backward; for that is a poor rule that will not work both ways.

    How To Do It Edward Everett Hale
  • It is a poor rule that will not work both ways, and your good health will leave you choleric and splenetic and exhausted.

    New Tabernacle Sermons Thomas De Witt Talmage
  • If there's a duty owed between daughter and father, it ought to work both ways.

    The Story Of Waitstill Baxter By Kate Douglas Wiggin

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