East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet

A line from a poem by Rudyard Kipling. It continues, a few lines later: “But there is neither East nor West ... When two strong men stand face to face.”

East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet

The culture of the West (Europe and the Americas) will always be very different from that of the East (Asia). (Twain means “two.”) This saying is part of the refrain of “The Ballad of East and West,” a poem by Rudyard Kipling.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.