Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Great minds think alike

"Great minds think alike." Anonymous.

An older version was "Good wits jump," from "Good wits doe iumpe," which appears as early as 1618. Jump meant "come together", a meaning that must've been lost soon after the saying was coined. A later version was "Good wits jump together."

Voltaire expressed something similar, "les beaux esprits se rencontrent", which could be translated as "Good minds meet."

The full versions of "Great minds think alike" are "Great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ," and "Great minds think alike, as do lesser ones."

Albert Einstein has his take: "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." I won't quibble with that.


  1. The family version of this when I was growing up was "Great minds run in the same channels," and it was usually said in a slightly ironic context: when 2 of us thought of the same idea, usually about something quite mundane (like what to have for breakfast or something like that).

  2. Stephen, it may go back to its old form. I haven't decided yet.

    DSD, you reminded me that we used to say "great minds run in the same gutters." Which I just googled: over 3000 hits!

  3. Yeah, that too, although then it was because we both thought of the same off-color interpretation of an otherwise innocuous remark...