In the 1989 movie "When Harry met Sally" the expression:

When X met Y

Has some other meaning other than the obvious one, or there's a hidden idiomatic expression or a pun?

  • 1
    It's not idiomatic, to my knowledge, other than most people's familiarity with the movie. That aside, "when X met Y" is a succinct way to pinpoint the event of the meeting of X and Y and there may very well be a story there. I personally wouldn't hesitate to use that construction to launch a story of the meeting of two people, products, etc. – Kristina Lopez Jan 21 '15 at 16:15
  • The concurrence of two entities resulting in something significant is a common theme in human affairs. Two worlds colliding, rubber meets road, inspiration plus perspiration, etc. – jxh Jan 22 '15 at 0:50
  • +1 @KristinaLopez - you've got it. It's an introductory referent, what follows is a narrative. Post it and I'll vote-up – user98990 Jan 22 '15 at 1:13

Well, when X met Y has become the standart scheme for romantic novels/films. Though if you really want to read something out of it intrinsic to the case of Harry and Sally you could maybe see X and Y as 2 different graphs (keep in mind; these letters are normally used for koordinates and not graphs within math).

2 graphs that are in no way equal to another have a very high possibility of meeting over and over again. In fact, if they are to similiar to each other (for example both are straight, or both are parables), the points at which they meet will be limited to a maximum of 1, respectively 2.

  • I was mostly interested in knowing if it can be said in a non-romantic way. If I'm saying that author X met author Y in the sense they match opinions. Like "When Picoult met Grisham" – ppaulojr Jan 21 '15 at 15:50
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    Well, in generall there is no romantic notion attached to this "idiom" (i wouldn't even call it an idiom). It is just a way of expressing that one entity met another. I think I miss the point now, maybe you can try to illustrate what exactly you want to say? because; "When Picoult met Grisham" is just an adverbial clause describing the time of an incident. It has no annotations. I mean; how else would you describe it, if not in this manner? – AverageGatsby Jan 21 '15 at 15:57
  • It's probably not achieved snowclone status. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 21 '15 at 16:20
  • Leitmotif ?, though the expression has nothing evocative of literary work. – Misti Jan 21 '15 at 21:00

Nope, think not. It's just the type of film title that's derived from a plot precis and has now become familiar through repetition.

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