strange bedfellows

unusual alliances


strange bedfellows = seltsames Paar, seltsame Bettgenossen, seltsame Bettgefährten, merkwürdiges Gespann



“Politics and good architecture are STRANGE BEDFELLOWS, but in Barcelona the marriage has worked.”

Cathleen McGuigan

“STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: Russian Prince, A Scottish Economist, and the Role of Empathy in Early Theories for the Evolution of Cooperation.”

Journal of Experimental Zoology

Did you

strange bedfellows
idiomatic phrase

- an unlikely alliance of people or things



Although strictly speaking bedfellows are persons who share a bed, like husband and wife, the term has been used figuratively since the late 1400s.

William Shakespeare popularised the phrase in his play 'The Tempest', written in 1610-1611. A man has been shipwrecked and finds himself seeking shelter beside a sleeping monster:

“…there is no other shelter hereabout: misery acquaints a man with strange bed-fellows.”


- James Watson and Francis Crick

Drs. Watson and Crick didn’t know each other particularly well before they began their collaboration to discover the structure of DNA. But, by building on the work of the chemist Dr. Rosalind Franklin, they were able to describe the double helix and to lay the foundation for understanding the human genome.

- Paul McCartney and John Lennon

Highly competitive, the duo frequently challenged one another. John would write Strawberry Fields, and Paul would respond with Penny Lane. It was a relationship of one-upmanship that pushed each of them to be their creative best and was the driving force behind the sound that changed popular music forever.

- Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Larry Page and Sergey Brin met when Brin, a student at Stanford, gave Page a tour of the campus. They started a company to experiment with search algorithms. Google has grown into a suite of technologies that have changed the world, now processing over 4 billion searches per day.

Adapted from Post-It Dot Com


accomplice, ally, BEDFELLOW, bedmate, co-conspirator, confidante, fellow traveler, kissing cousin, partner in crime

Practice OWAD in an English conversation, say something like:

“Jim and Peter really are STRANGE BEDFELLOWS, sharing the same job but totally different in their views.“

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Paul Smith

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