Definition of Tweedledum and Tweedledee in English:

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Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Pronunciation: /twiːd(ə)lˈdʌm/
Pronunciation: /twiːd(ə)lˈdiː/


A pair of people or things that are virtually indistinguishable: the umpires conferred, like Tweedledum and Tweedledee in their striped shirts
More example sentences
  • But can you distinguish between Tweedledum and Tweedledee?
  • I am confident that a large proportion of informal votes is from electors who refuse to choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and don't wish to pay a fine.
  • Both parties are personality-oriented and, in terms of issues, they are only Tweedledum and Tweedledee.


Originally names applied to the composers Bononcini (1670–1747) and Handel, in a 1725 satire by John Byrom (1692–1763); they were later used for two identical characters in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass.

  • The English poet John Byrom coined Tweedledee and Tweedledum in a satire of 1725 about the composers George Frederick Handel and Giovanni Battista Bononcini, musical rivals who were both enjoying success in London at the time. To tweedle (late 17th century) is to play a succession of shrill notes or to play an instrument carelessly. Lewis Carroll picked up the names and used them for two identical characters in Through the Looking-Glass, and now they apply generally to any pair of people or things that are virtually indistinguishable. Twiddle (mid 16th century) is a variant of tweedle, and twiddle your thumbs dates from the late 19th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Tweedle|dum and Tweedle|dee

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