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I am looking for a phrase that compares two characters that share very similar attributes and characteristics.

Prufrock and Hamlet truly are [ ... ]

I don't want something like "very much alike" or "similar"or anything like that. Rather, I'm looking for a distinct phrase to describe this.

  • Twins or clones seems like a reasonable fit. It doesn't fit your formula exactly, but P & H match – ScotM Jan 26 '15 at 1:20
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    are you looking for something like nearly twins or something else? – Jim Jan 26 '15 at 1:21
  • @Jim Something similar, but a bit less explicit.. More on the intellectual or emotional level.. – McB Jan 26 '15 at 1:23
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An often used expression is cut from the same cloth

From The Free Dictionary:

Fig. sharing a lot of similarities; seeming to have been created, reared, or fashioned in the same way. She and her brother are cut from the same cloth. They both tell lies all the time. Father and son are made from the same mold and even sound alike on the telephone.

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    Another idiomatic phrase along these same lines is that they are two peas in a pod, though this one implies a certain amount of simultaneity, and would rarely be used for characters or people who lived in different times. – Mark Thompson Jan 26 '15 at 1:36
  • I have also heard from the same mold. For parent/child relationship, they sometimes also say the apple does not fall far from the tree – krikara Jan 26 '15 at 9:57
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If you're looking for a colloquial phrase and the similarities you're trying to emphasize are mainly physical in nature, a common (American) idiom is that they were separated at birth, a joking reference to the possibility that they were actually born as twins but were raised by separate families due to their being separated in the hospital, either intentionally or accidentally.

The now-defunct Spy magazine used to run a regular feature under that title about celebrities who looked similar, sometimes comically so.

2

A phrase that has currency in the US is brother from another mother (or brotha from anotha motha)

A term used to describe a good friend that you have known almost your whole life. The word "brother" is used because the friend is extremely close to you to the point that he is almost like your brother--but from a different mother. And that rhymes. And you know that rhymes. Admit it!

Urban Dictionary

While it focuses on the closeness of friends, it implies commonality of values and interests. And it obviously tends to be more frequently used by individuals of the male persuasion.

  • +1 I was actually thinking of including this in my answer as an example of what I wanted. A bit too informal, but the right idea – McB Jan 26 '15 at 22:53
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Tweedledum and Tweedledee refers to two people (or social entities) who are essentially clones but who vigorously maintain their separate identities, particularly by disputing over trivia.

  • Except that "Tweedledum and Tweedledee" is generally considered derogatory. – Hot Licks Jan 26 '15 at 13:42
  • @HotLicks: Sorry, I don't get what you mean by "except that". It's hard to see how the above characterization of Tweedledum and Tweedledee could be taken as complimentary. The OP didn't specify the tone. Tweedledum and Tweedledee is humorous or mocking in tone, but it might be appropriate in some circumstances. – John Bentin Jan 26 '15 at 14:05
  • If one described Prufrock and Hamlet as Tweedledum and Tweedledee the reader would likely (and justifiably) focus on the characterization of those as idiots, and completely miss the intended point that they were simply quite alike. – Hot Licks Jan 26 '15 at 16:44

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