Wondering what phrases English has similar to this Chinese idiom.

ABC Dictionary (GoogleBooks):


(lit) [If we/they/you were] not rivals/enemies, there would be no encounter. (fig) Enemies and lovers are pre-destined to meet; opponents always meet.

(lit. "enemy" or "rival" or "opponent") is also a term of endarment commonly used by women to refer to their husbands or sometimes children

What play(s)-on the above are there in English?

  • What is the Chinese idiom? Something like 冤家有缘分? 缘分遇上冤家? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 31 '15 at 10:36
  • @JanusBahsJacquet 不是冤家不聚头 – Mo. Jan 31 '15 at 11:06

The closest English idiom I can think of is

"Opposites attract."

This is usually used in romantic context, but it only covers the first sense you mentioned, that enemies always meet.

There are others that cover ongoing intimate conflict: the one I remember is;

"They have a love/hate relationship."

| improve this answer | |
  • Idiomatic, and known to be true concerning magnetism. – WS2 Jan 31 '15 at 10:59

Mr. Mellencamp (under the stage name Cougar) suggested that the sweet and sour relationship between lovers hurts so good.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.