Cut from the same cloth?

中国日报网 2012-10-19 09:58



Cut from the same cloth?Reader question:

“He and his father are cut from the same cloth.” What does that mean exactly?

My comments:

In other words, like father, like son.

The phrase “cut from the same cloth” here means that he and his father share a lot of similarities. The son resembles the father in appearance, for example. They are probably of similar height. They are identical in character, behavior and so forth.

They may both smoke cigarettes. They both watch the same sports on TV. They even wear similar clothes, etc.

In fact, if they do wear similar suits, those suits may look much the same.

Because, you see, their suits might be made (cut) from the same piece of cloth.

Yes, that’s exactly where this phrase comes from, i.e. from the cutting and sewing tailors. This explanation from

If you’re making a suit, the jacket and trousers should be cut from the same piece of cloth to ensure a perfect match, since there may be differences in color, weave etc. between batches of fabric. Only if the whole suite is cut from the same piece of cloth can we be sure of the match. offers another, similar explanation as to the phrase’s origin:

If you look back a few hundred years, families would buy a bolt of fabric to make there clothes from, so all in the family would be notably cut from the same cloth. In some communities they would maintain a certain fabric or tartan and that pattern would be identified with the specific family that used it again and again.

See? Anyways, if you see this phrase, usually used to describe two persons, you should understand that these two persons share a lot of traits and qualities.

It is an old phrase to be sure – probably as old as the Western suit (with jacket and trousers) itself – but it is a phrase that remains alive and well, i.e. very much in use today.

Here are a few fairly recent media examples of people described as “cut from the same cloth”:

1. There will be no comforts of home for Dwyane Wade on this trip to Chicago.

All business.

After all, an NBA finals berth is at stake.

The Chicago native is going home and treating it like a road trip, which is precisely what it is from the Miami Heat perspective anyway. Some of Wade’s toughest nights in the NBA have come in Chicago, and so may his toughest challenge yet this season, when the Heat face the Bulls starting Sunday night in the Eastern Conference finals.


He isn’t the only Chicago native heading home. Juwan Howard—in the conference-final round for the first time, at 38 years old—is from the city as well.

Like Wade, he says there’s no time for nostalgia.

“We’re cut from the same cloth,” Howard said. “We’re both very competitive individuals.”

- Wade facing his hometown—with high stakes, AP, May 13, 2011.

2. Kidd cannot speak for Mancini or the owners, but tends to take a cautious view. “The Premier League is the bread and butter,” he says. “For me it’s about making a good fist of being defending champions next season. That’s the starting point, and maybe to be successful you have to prioritise, because going out of Europe fairly early certainly helped City and United at the end of the season.

“I think you have to grow into European football and while I am not saying it is impossible to combine a successful league campaign with a long run in the Champions League, the boss has only been here two-and-a-half years and it's not a long time. Europe is a learning process. That’s what United found in the early days and that’s what more experienced teams than Manchester City have found this season. Everyone expected Barcelona or Real Madrid to win the Champions League didn’t they, but it didn’t pan out that way.”

With Mancini about to be offered a lucrative deal to tie him to City for the next three or four years, his chances of outlasting Ferguson appear better than ever, and though the Italian may strike outsiders as too pleasant and courteous to drag his team to the top of the European tree by sheer force of personality, Kidd believes the two men have a lot in common. “They are cut from the same cloth,” he says. “People might think I'm a balloon for saying that, but I have seen both of them up close. Roberto isn’t afraid to make big decisions, and top players and big personalities don’t frighten him. He knows how to handle players and how to handle himself. I just feel blessed for being lucky enough to work with both of them.”

- ‘Roberto Mancini and Sir Alex Ferguson are cut from the same cloth’, May 19, 2012,

3. Dita Von Teese was “cut from the same cloth” as Marilyn Manson.

The burlesque dancer related to the goth rocker because they both created a new persona for the sake of their art and even though they divorced in 2007, she has never felt so akin to anyone since.

Dita said: “We were cut from the same cloth. We both changed out entire identity, coloured out hair black, did our own man-up and came up with our own outfits – that’s why it worked so well.

“We could relate to each other in a very profound way.”

- Dita Von Teese ‘the same’ as Manson,, October 12, 2012.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Informed decision?

Off and on?

Moral fiber

Always on the outside looking in?

Rubbing it in

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:Julie)



















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