it takes one to know one

The person who expressed criticism has similar faults to the person being criticized. This classic retort to an insult dates from the early 1900s. For example, You say she's a terrible cook? It takes one to know one! For a synonym, see pot calling the kettle black. A near equivalent is the proverbial it takes a thief to catch a thief, meaning “no one is better at finding a wrongdoer than another wrongdoer.” First recorded in 1665, it remains current.


Nearby words

  1. it stands to reason,
  2. it takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make it home,
  3. it takes a thief to catch a thief,
  4. it takes all sorts,
  5. it takes getting used to,
  6. it takes two to tango,
  7. it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
  8. it'd,
  9. it'll,
  10. it's

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.