Binomial phrases in English

Binomial. Definition: (linguistics) a pair of nouns joined by a word like ‘and’, where the order of the nouns is always the same, for example ‘knife and fork’ (from Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries at

As the role of binomial phrases has become important in linguistics, and also features significantly in my book on the language of the amendments in the U. S. Bill of Rights, I decided to devote this page to a homemade list of English binomials. Enjoy.

Once you start seeing/hearing them, you start seeing them everywhere . . .

Above and beyond, all and sundry, all or nothing, any and all, apples and oranges,

arm and a leg, arm and hammer, aunt and uncle.

Back and forth, bacon and eggs, bagged and tagged, beard and mustache, 

bed and board, been and gone, before and after, bells and whistles, better or worse, 

bill and coo, bits and pieces, black and blue, black and tan, black and white, 

blood and guts, bob and weave, books and papers, boots and spurs, born and bred, 

born and raised, bow and arrow, boxers or briefs, brains and brawn, 

bread and butter, bride and groom, bring and buy, brown and serve, 

bump and grind, burger and fries, butter and eggs,

buttons and bows, by and large.

Cap and gown, cheese and crackers, chicken and egg, chip and dip, clean and sober,

cloak and dagger, coat and tie, cops and robbers, cork and bottle, crash and burn,

cream and sugar, crime and punishment, cup and saucer, cut and dried.

Darkness and light, dead and buried, dead or alive, death and taxes, dine and dance,

divide and conquer, do or die, down and dirty, down and out, ducks and drakes,

dust and ashes.

Early and late, east and west, eyes and ears.

Fair and accurate, fair and square, fair or foul, fame and fortune, far and away,

fast and furious, fast and loose, fear or favor, few or none, field and stream, 

fife and drum, fight or flight, fire and brimstone, first and foremost, 

fish and chips, fitting and proper, flesh and blood, flesh or fowl, food and drink, 

fore and aft, forgive and forget, friend or foe, frills and furbelows, fur and feather.

Garter and hose, gin and tonic, give and take, give or take, gloom and doom, 

good and evil, good and sufficient, grape or grain, grin and bear it.

Hale and hearty, ham and eggs, hammer and anvil, hammer and sickle, 

hammer and tongs, hand and foot, hard and fast, hard or soft, head and shoulders, 

heart and soul, hearth and home, hearts and flowers, hearts and minds, 

heating and cooling, heel and toe, height and weight, hell or high water, 

hem and haw, high and dry, high and mighty, hill and dale, his and hers, 

hit and run, hither and yon, hoof and mouth, hook and line, horse and buggy, 

horse and foot, hot and cold, house and home, husband and wife, hustle and flow.

In and out, inside and out.

Judge and jury, jug and bottle.

Kicking and screaming, king and queen, kiss and tell, kit and caboodle, 

kitchen and bath, kith and kin, knife and fork.

Ladies and gentlemen, lame and the halt, land and sea, law and order, 

letter and the spirit, life and death, light and dark, lions and tigers, listen and learn, 

live and die, live and learn, live and let live, lock and key, long and the short, 

look and see, love and leave, love and marriage, love and war.

Mac and cheese, meat and potatoes, milk and honey, mine and thine, more or less,

morning and night.

Name and address, near and far, neat and tidy, needle and thread, nickel and dime,

niece and nephew, nip and tuck, north and south, now or never.

Odds and ends, off and on, oil and vinegar, oil and water, one and all, out and about.

Part and parcel, peace and quiet, peaches and cream, peanut butter and jelly, 

pen and ink, pick and choose, pins and needles, plain and simple,

plumbing and heating, plus or minus, port and starboard, pots and pans, 

powder and paint, prim and proper, principal and interest, Ps and Qs, 

pure and simple, push and pull.

Read and write, rhyme and meter, rhyme and rhythm, rhyme or reason, 

rhythm and blues, right and proper, right and wrong, rise and shine, rock and roll, 

rod and reel, room and board, root and branch. 

Saddle and bridlesaint or sinner, salt and pepper, scot and lot, scotch and soda, 

see and hear, self or others, shave and a haircut, shoes and handbag, 

shoes and stockings, short and sweet, show and tell, shuck and jive, sick and tired,

sight and sound, signed and sealed, sink or swim, skin and bone, slim or none,

smoke and mirrors, soap and water, song and dance, spaghetti and meatballs,

spick and span, spit and polish, stars and stripes, sticks and stones, stop and go,

stuff and nonsense, sugar and spice, sun and fun, sun and moon, sun and sand,

sun and shade, sword and pistol, sword and shield.  

Tailoring and alterationstake it or leave it, tea and sympathy, this and that,

thunder and lightning, tinsel and glitter, to and fro, to and from, to have and to hold,

toast and jelly, toil and trouble, tooth and claw, tooth and nail, town and country,

track and field, trial and error, trick or treat, tried and true, turkey and dressing,

twice or thrice, twist and shout.

Up and downups and downs.

Vim and vigor.

War and peacewarp and woof, wash and wear, watch and ward, wax and wane,

wear and tear, weep and wail, win or lose, wine and dine, word and deed, 

wrack and ruin.

Yea or nay, yes and no, yes or no.