it takes one to know one

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English[edit]

Proverb[edit]

it takes one to know one

  1. (colloquial) Assertion that an insult that was made by the party to whom the phrase is directed is also true of that party.
    • 1949, Nial Kent, The Divided Path, p. 358:
      There's an unkind saying that it takes one to know one, and it's almost true.
    • 1947, Poet Lore‎, p. 280:
      Anyone who appreciates Shakespeare as this author unquestionably does is another Shakespeare — it takes one to know one!
    • 1946, Gore Vidal, Williwaw‎, p. 45:
      “I’ve got a bad egg,” said Bervick. “I guess this was a pre-war egg.” []
      It takes one to know one,” said the Chief, referring back to the eggs.

See also[edit]

Usage notes[edit]

  • Sometimes recited without the initial "it", which is implied.