What Does “Great Minds Think Alike” Mean?

Discover the fascinating history behind the popular idiom 'Great minds think alike,' which suggests that intelligent people often share similar thoughts or ideas. From early usage in texts to its current form, explore how this playful phrase has endured over centuries.

Origins of the Idiom

Great minds think alike” is a popular idiom used to express the idea that intelligent people often have similar thoughts or ideas.

The phrase is often used in a playful or humorous way to suggest that two people share the same idea.

Early Usage in Texts

The origins of the phrase are not entirely clear.

However, the thought behind it dates back to at least the early 17th century.

The phrase “good wits doe jumpe” appears in Dabridgcourt Belchier’s play “Hans Beer-Pot” in 1618, which suggests the idea that intelligent people have similar thoughts.

In 1736, the phrase “The Woful History of the Unfortunate Eudoxia” used a similar expression, “Great wits jump,” to convey the same idea.

Do Both of These Sayings Imply a Similar Message?

Yes and no.

While the saying “love is blind” implies that love can make people overlook faults, “the meaning of love is blind” suggests that one’s interpretation of love may be biased.

Both express the idea that love can cause people to see things differently.

Evolution of the Phrase

Over time, the phrase evolved to its current form of “Great minds think alike.” The earliest known usage of the phrase in its current form was in a letter written by Carl Theodor von Unlanski in 1856.

The letter reads, “Talents are like birds, they fly in flocks.

Great minds think alike.” Since then, the phrase has become a popular idiom used to express the idea that intelligent people often share similar thoughts or ideas.

Here are three example sentences that use the idiom:

  • “When they both suggested the same solution to the problem, he exclaimed, ‘Great minds think alike!'”
  • “After they both showed up wearing the same outfit, she laughed and said, ‘Great minds think alike.'”
  • “When they both ordered the same dish at the restaurant, he smiled and said, ‘Great minds think alike.'”

Here are three synonyms of the idiom:

The idiom “Great minds think alike” is often used in a playful or humorous way to suggest that two or more people share the same thoughts or ideas.

Its origins can be traced back to the early 17th century, and it has since evolved into its current form.