it takes one to know one

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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. Like "you recognize this bad thing in me because you have it also".
    • 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.

Usage notes[edit]

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

See also[edit]