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Eponymous pairs

This week's words
Alphonse and Gaston
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Jekyll and Hyde
Mutt and Jeff
Darby and Joan

Mutt and Jeff
on a button Mutt and Jeff
(photo: Mark Lansdown)

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Mutt and Jeff

PRONUNCIATION:
(mut uhn jef)

MEANING:
noun: A pair of people having dramatically different characteristics, such as height.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Mutt and Jeff, comic strip characters of the same name, created by cartoonist Harry "Bud" Fisher (1885-1954).

NOTES:
The strip originated in 1907 and its principal characters were tall Mutt and short Jeff. Both were lovable losers. The strip was wildly popular and inspired the idiomatic usage to refer to a pair of comically mismatched people. The term also applies to a pair of interrogators one of whom appears threatening while the other presents a sympathetic persona.

The word is also used as a Cockney rhyming slang for 'deaf'.

USAGE:
"Granted, not many of us use a banana to hook the handle of a pot that's slightly out of reach. But invention's become a necessity for my wife, Kathi Langston, who, at 5' 1", has to contend with the kitchen that I, at 6' 2", designed and built years ago. ... It's clearly our Mutt and Jeff combination that's getting in the way of a blissful relationship with our standard kitchen."
Patrick Langston; The Long and Short of Living With an Imperfect Kitchen; The Ottawa Citizen (Canada); Mar 28, 2009.

"The disgraced former president Richard Nixon was paid $US 1 million for a 1977 interview with David Frost. ...
James Reston Jr., Frost's Watergate adviser: 'I was in army intelligence ... and the Mutt and Jeff, good cop-bad cop thing is usually two people, but Frost, he did both roles.'"
Ian Munro; Stopping the Rot; The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia); May 3, 2008.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Silence is the severest criticism. -Charles Buxton, brewer, philanthropist, writer, and politician (1823-1871)

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