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What is the meaning of "two-sidedness"? I'd like a direct or indirect definition.

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If you could provide a context, you would get a more nuanced response. Do you have the sentence that it is used in? – gbutters Apr 20 '11 at 2:21
Do you mean 'sides' as in edges of a two-dimensional figure, or as in left vs right 'handedness'? – Snubian Apr 20 '11 at 3:49
@gbutters like "things always have two-sidedness". – lovespring Apr 24 '11 at 7:25
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Two-sided as defined in Random House Dictionary:

Having two sides; bilateral.

This is a more direct, literal definition, where the sense of the word applies to concrete things: two-sided coins and two-sided paper.

Having two aspects or characters.

This is the more indirect, figurative definition, where the sense of the word applies to characteristics of a person, markets, or problems. The implication is that those things with two-sidedness have a more complex nature than what is presented on the outside.

Adding '-ness' creates the noun form.

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Something that has two sides can be called two-sided. The English suffix -ness is used to turn an adjective (or participle) into a noun that refers to the associated quality. For instance, darkness is the quality which dark describes. Thus, two-sidedness is the quality of having two sides. Although this is not a common word, it is a reasonable one. One could say, for instance, that a sheet of paper shows two-sidedness. (It is more likely that two-sidedness would be used in a metaphorical sense rather than a literal sense of that example.)

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The only occurrence of two-sidedness in the Corpus of Contemporary American English is in an academic paper dated 1990: [he] erred in his prediction that Britain would be one of the superpowers, but he correctly anticipated the “two-sidedness” of world politics after 1945 (note the quotation marks, which appear in the original, marking that the author knows the word is not standardly used).

@mgkrebbs gave a good description of using the -ness suffix to form nouns. Two-sided means having two sides, or two aspects. The first meaning is exemplified in a sentence like:

The set includes 1 00 two-sided letter tiles, four gray bank tiles, and four letter bags

The second can be seen in:

For the past five years, Pakistan has pursued a risky, two-sided policy toward Islamic militancy


He clearly enjoys having a two-sided conversation.

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