build bridges: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘build bridges’ mean?

The idiom "build bridges" means to create connections and understanding between people or groups who have had a disagreement or conflict, with the intention of resolving differences and fostering peace and cooperation.

Idiom Explorer

The Power Within Bridges

bridge-builder: The idiom build bridges is closely related to the term "bridge-builder." A bridge-builder is someone who actively works to create connections and foster understanding between individuals or groups who are estranged or in conflict. They play a crucial role in bridging gaps in communication, empathy, and understanding, and they often serve as mediators or facilitators in the process of reconciliation and collaboration. By acting as bridge-builders, individuals can contribute to the building of stronger relationships and a more harmonious society.

Bridges connect people and strengthen relationships.

bridge the gap: Another related idiom is "bridge the gap." This phrase refers to the act of bringing together two separate entities or ideas that are distant or disconnected. When used in the context of build bridges, bridging the gap means actively working to overcome differences and establish connections between individuals or groups who may have opposing viewpoints or conflicting interests. By bridging the gap, people can find common ground, build trust, and foster effective communication that leads to cooperation and mutual understanding.

bring together: The idiom build bridges also encompasses the idea of "bringing together." This phrase emphasizes the importance of unity and collaboration in overcoming divisions and working towards common goals. By bringing together individuals or groups who may have differences, build bridges promotes the power of collective effort and the strength that lies in unity. It encourages people to set aside their grievances and work towards a better future together, recognizing that the shared pursuit of progress is often more impactful than individual pursuits.

burn one's bridges: Lastly, the idiom build bridges contrasts with the phrase "burn one's bridges." This expression refers to the act of severing ties or relationships with no possibility of reconciliation or return. In contrast, building bridges emphasizes the need for connection and understanding. Instead of burning bridges, individuals are encouraged to repair and strengthen relationships, fostering cooperation, empathy, and mutual respect. By choosing to build bridges instead of burning them, people can create a more inclusive and harmonious society.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *build bridges* can be used in a sentence:

  • Politicians should focus on building bridges between different communities to foster unity.
  • We need to build bridges with our competitors in order to create a collaborative environment.
  • After a misunderstanding, it is important to build bridges and mend relationships.

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