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I'm not referring to "one of a kind" or "first of a kind" but "the two were of a kind". This turns out to be remarkably un-Googlable so I am having difficulty providing examples. In context I have always assumed it meant that two things were in a unique category unto themselves.

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maybe "they were two of a kind" => "the two were of a kind" ? –  nohat Jul 25 '11 at 20:13

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

"Two of a kind" means that there are two parts that make up the total. "The two were of a kind" is a little different because it doesn't imply that there are only two in that "kind", but that those two are in that "kind", where kind generally refers to a unique personality trait, state of mind, or way of looking at the world.

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It really means the same as it does in the context of the phrases "one of a kind" and "first of its kind." In this context, "kind" means (loosely) "a type or variety having specific quantifiable features." So for "the two" to be "of a kind" means that they have specific quantifiable features in common. The phrases "of a kind" and "of the same kind" are more or less semantically interchangeable.

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It basically means that they share some common subset.

It can be used in a manner to exclaim that a group is special and out of the ordinary.

It is often used to express distaste at certian life choices in a manner that seems less overt or crass. In this manner the exact definition is left indefinate so that the speaker can claim misunderstanding.

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