one hand washes the other

Cf. EPICHARMUS Apophthegm 273 (Kaibel) ἁ δὲ χεὶρ τὰν χεῖρα νίζει, one hand washes the other; SENECA Apocolocyntosis ix. manus manum lavat, hand washes hand.

1573 J. SANFORDE Garden of Pleasure 110v One hand washeth an other, and both wash the face.

1611 R. COTGRAVE Dict. French & English s.v. Main, One hand washes the other; applyable to such as giue vpon assurance, or hope, to be giuen vnto; or vnto such as anyway serue one anothers turne.

1836 P. HONE Diary 12 Mar. (1927) I. 203 Persons in business..make, as the saying is, ‘one hand wash the other’.

1983 H. RESNICOW Gold Solution ix. And three years ago, Erik was on a design jury that picked the dean’s firm’s entry as a winner. One hand washes the other.

2001 P. J. O’ROURKE CEO of Sofa xii. 250 One hand washes the other: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me—unless they seek counseling, of course.


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