paired with tweedledee to signify two things or persons nearly alike, differing in name, 1725, coined by English poet John Byrom (1692-1767) in his satire "On the Feud Between Handel and Bononcini," a couple of competing musicians, from tweedle "to sing, to whistle" (1680s), of imitative origin. The -dum and -dee perhaps suggest low and high sounds respectively.

Nearby words

  1. twee,
  2. tweed,
  3. tweed, william marcy,
  4. tweeddale,
  5. tweedle,
  6. tweedledum and tweedledee,
  7. tweedsmuir,
  8. tweedy,
  9. tweenager,
  10. tweeny

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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