share and share alike: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘share and share alike’ mean?

The idiom "share and share alike" means to divide something equally and fairly among all parties involved.

Idiom Explorer


The idiom "share and share alike" is a well-known phrase that means distributing or dividing something equally among people. It emphasizes the importance of fairness and inclusivity in human interactions. The origins of this idiom can be traced back to ancient times, where sharing was highly valued in many cultures. It reflects the concept of equitable distribution and reminds individuals to distribute resources or benefits equally to avoid conflicts. In various contexts, both literal and figurative, this idiom conveys the principles of equality, fairness, and reciprocity.

Literal contexts of "share and share alike" can involve dividing or distributing objects, like food, possessions, or responsibilities. In this sense, it emphasizes the principle of fairness and cooperation. One example is when friends decide to go halves and split the cost of a meal or a bill. They each pay an equal share, ensuring fairness and equal contribution. This way, they practice the core idea behind the idiom.

Figuratively, "share and share alike" is used to promote the concept of equal treatment, fairness, and justice in different situations. It can be applied to the distribution of opportunities, resources, or emotional support. For instance, in an educational setting, teachers aim to give each student their fair share of attention and resources. They provide equal opportunities for learning, ensuring that no student is left behind or excluded.

Share alike distribution promotes equal accessibility to resources.

Another related idiom is "fair share". It means receiving or providing an equal portion or amount. It aligns with the idea of equitable distribution represented by "share and share alike". When individuals receive or contribute their fair share, it promotes fairness, cooperation, and inclusivity. For example, in a team project, each member is expected to do their fair share of the work to achieve a successful outcome. This principle encourages collaboration and ensures that no one is burdened with an unfair workload.

Similarly, "go halves" is an idiom that emphasizes equal sharing. It means splitting something, usually expenses, evenly between two or more people. It is often used when friends or partners decide to divide the cost of something equally. When people "go halves", they contribute an equal amount, reinforcing the principle of "share and share alike". This arrangement fosters a sense of fairness and partnership.

Another related idiom is "one and the same". It signifies that two or more things are identical or indistinguishable. It can be seen as an extension of the concept behind "share and share alike" because it implies complete equality. Two individuals or things that are "one and the same" are equal in every aspect, reinforcing the importance of fairness and equity. This idiom highlights the idea that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of differences.

Finally, "go halfsies" is an informal variation of "go halves". It refers to an equal division or sharing, often in a casual or lighthearted manner. The idiom can be used to express the act of splitting something equally with someone else. While "go halfsies" may not be as commonly used as "go halves", it still aligns with the concept of equitable distribution represented by "share and share alike".

The idiom "share and share alike" encapsulates the principles of fairness, equality, and reciprocity. It promotes the idea of equitable distribution in various contexts, both literal and figurative. By applying the concepts of "fair share", "go halves", "one and the same", and "go halfsies" within the framework of this idiom, individuals are encouraged to consider the needs and rights of others. Ultimately, this fosters a sense of unity, cooperation, and inclusivity in all aspects of life.

Example usage

"Share and share alike" can be used in the following examples:

  1. After the siblings made a pact to "share and share alike," they agreed to split their inheritance equally.
  2. The teacher told the students to "share and share alike" when passing out the candy, ensuring each student received an equal amount.
  3. In the cooperative housing community, the members live by the principle of "share and share alike," meaning they all contribute equally to the common expenses.

More "Equity" idioms

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