Great Minds Think Alike – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to compliment a friend for coming up with the same idea as you? This post unpacks the meaning and origin of the saying, "great minds think alike."


The meaning of the saying, "great minds think alike," is to tell another person that they have the same thoughts as you, and you must both be intelligent for thinking on the same level. Some people argue that the saying is ironic since great minds would not have similar thoughts, which would be more common in unintelligent people.

However, the phrase's meaning is usually complimenting another person's thoughts. The people using the words are generally friends or acquaintances. The term can also describe two people you don't know with similar points of view.

For instance, if two politicians agree on the same policy, you would say that "great minds think alike" to complement their similar strategic thinking.

Example Usage

"Hey, I was thinking we go to the concert this weekend, but you already bought the tickets. Great minds think alike, I guess."

"Did you see that those doctors all came to the same conclusion about climate change? Great minds think alike, and they all agree with the unanimous consensus."

"Great minds think alike; I was going to order the ribeye medium rare too."

"You know what they say, great minds think alike, and I feel that's why we're a good combination to lead the project."

"Great minds think alike. I don't care what you say; we're connected at some subconscious level we don't understand."


The origin of the proverb, "great minds think alike," comes from the 17th century. The phrase has a connection to other similar idiomatic expressions like "great minds think alike, small minds rarely differ" and "great minds think alike, and fools seldom differ."

The earliest example of the saying in print goes back to 1816 and the work of Carl Theodor von Unlanski. His biography "The woful history of the unfortunate Eudoxia" would use the expression as follows.

"It may occur that an editor has already printed something on the identical subject - great minds think alike, you know."

Phrases Similar to Great Minds Think Alike

  • We're two peas in a pod.
  • We're on the same wavelength.
  • BF4L.
  • Snap.

Phrases Opposite to Great Minds Think Alike

  • You're nothing like me.
  • You aren't what I expect.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Great minds think alike.

Ways People May Say Great Minds Think Alike Incorrectly

Using the expression "great minds think alike" to describe the actions of people who dreadful things would be an inappropriate use of the term.

For instance, if you watch a documentary about a criminal and use the phrase to describe that you and the criminal think alike, you're likely to have the police call on you.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Great Minds Think Alike

You can use the phrase "great minds think alike" when talking to your friends or describing other people.

For example, your friend might come up with the same idea as you in the spur of the moment. To stroke both your egos, you could say "great minds think alike" to insinuate that you both make great plans and to strengthen your relationship bond.

You could also use the phrase to describe scientists working on a project together. They could have synergy where their thinking allowed them to make breakthroughs and discoveries faster than other research teams. In that case, you could say that great minds think alike to describe the two scientists and their thinking.

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