Definition of twain in English:

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Pronunciation: /twān/

cardinal number

archaic term for two. he split it in twain


never the twain shall meet

Used to suggest that two things are too different to coexist: Ulster people are British and Irish people are Irish, and never the twain shall meet
From Rudyard Kipling's “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.” (Barrack-room Ballads (1892))
More example sentences
  • It was Rudyard Kipling who said, ‘east is east, west is west, and never the twain shall meet.’
  • The band members sat in the Third Class carriage while the brethren of the Loyal Orange Lodge adorned the First Class carriage; never the twain shall meet.
  • Each will look after their own, and never the twain shall meet.


Old English twegen, masculine of twā (see two).

  • An old form of two. The comment never the twain shall meet, suggesting that two things are too different to exist alongside each other, quotes from ‘The Ballad of East and West’ (1892) by Rudyard Kipling: ‘Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.’

Words that rhyme with twain

abstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, cinquain, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, rain, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: twain

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