The word bromance is a well-known portmanteau of bro or brother and romance. According to the linked Wikipedia article, it means:

a close, emotionally intense, non-sexual bond between two (or more) men. It is an exceptionally tight, affectional, homosocial male bonding relationship that exceeds that of usual friendship, that is distinguished by a particularly high level of emotional intimacy.

Over the last couple of weeks, I heard this word repeatedly used in the media to describe the relationship between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz before they started to engage in mud-slinging at each other and the their bromance seems to have turned sour as their fight intensifies to become the presidential candidate of the Republican Party.

The war of words between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz spilled onto the GOP debate stage, ending the bromance the two men once shared.

[ABC news headline]

Based on the above definition, i.e. emotionally intense bond and tight male bonding, the word bromance doesn't seem appropriate to describe the relationship as they didn't seem to have such a bond. They just pretended to be close and didn't attack each other for their political agenda.

Question: Is there any better or more appropriate word or idiom to describe relationship between two people who pretend to be close to each other for political or commercial gains knowing well their seemingly close relationship will not last long enough?

  • 3
    The way you describe it reminds me of the saying "Politics makes strange bedfellows." But I don't know what we would call the relationship itself... a bedfellowship?
    – herisson
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 7:43
  • @sumelic Thanks for your comment. I am not just looking for a word. It would be a good answer if posted.
    – user140086
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 7:49
  • You're telling me that actual, card carrying, professional, paid journalists use that horrible, useless word (it's called friendship folks; that involves strong emotion, even when the friends in question are heterosexual males)? That's just depressing.
    – terdon
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 17:31

5 Answers 5


How about alliance of convenience?

There is an old phrase, marriage of convenience, which is defined as:

marriage entered into for a personal or family advantage, as for social, political, or economic reasons, usually without love and sometimes without the expectation of sexual relations.


This term is often used idiomatically to describe other pragmatic partnerships, such as those between companies or even entire business sectors. For example, see this Financial Times article: "Law and Business: a marriage of convenience".

Leading on from that, I have occasionally come across an evolution of the term to alliance of convenience.

This means an alliance between two political entities that's undertaken for mutual benefit, which serves a purpose under a particular set of circumstances, but which is not founded (solely) upon a shared ideology. Consequently, it will last only as long as it grants benefit to either party.

You can witness the term in publication if you Google it, one notable example is an Atlantic.com article: Ted Cruz and Donald Trump Forge an Alliance of Convenience

  • I'd say "marriage of convenience" was closer.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 13:34
  • 2
    It's explicit that it's impossible for this to be a marriage, even a sham one, because they are opposing candidates, so the partnership must be temporary. Hence, alliance is more fitting I think.
    – Charon
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 14:57

I agree that the word bromance is an ill-fitting description of their relationship. The word bromance is used for people who genuinely like each other and are truly friends. In my opinion, this doesn't fit Trump or Cruz at all.

The idiom "politics makes strange bedfellows." is a good fit but is rather wordy.

I feel the word frenemy is a more apt description of their relationship.

In the ABC headline, it is possible that ABC is using the expression sarcastically or tongue in cheek, as the word has quotes around it. Interestingly, frenemy doesn't have a noun form in the sense of an activity. In other words, frenemy is a person, and bromance is an activity. If the word frenemyship existed then it could replace bromance, and the writer might have chosen it.

  • Ah, but there so much fakery going on in this election cycle that the ironic/sarcastic use of the term is perfectly apt.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 13:36
  • I would agree with frenemy except in this particular case, Trump has no friends, and certainly no frenemies. And that's not a dig on Trump. He has designed his life to be this way. He wants men to respect him (fear him), and he wants beautiful women to desire him. Cruz is like a gnat to him, in his mind. They both want to get the BBQ, but Trump thinks the BBQ is for him and Cruz keeps getting in the way.
    – Tim Ward
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 15:58

Two or more persons whose interests are temporarily aligned:


as in:

a secret agreement, especially for fraudulent or treacherous purposes; conspiracy:

Some of his employees were acting in collusion to rob him.

It is, in fact, a legal term. As in:

a secret understanding between two or more persons to gain something illegally, to defraud another of his or her rights, or to appear as adversaries though in agreement:

collusion of husband and wife to obtain a divorce.


I hasten to add that I'd simply say that the two crooks are in cahoots.

  • @michael_timofeev: Why, what's wrong with it?
    – Ricky
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 9:55

What about an unholy alliance?

In geopolitical contexts, this phrase is used to mean:

an alliance which is perceived as unnatural, unusual, or simply undesirable, sometimes between seemingly antagonistic parties.

The general definition from Wiktionary is:

A coalition among seemingly antagonistic groups, especially if one is religious, for ad hoc or hidden gain.


I also agree that bromance is improperly used in this context, but it doesn't surprise me in the least that ABC would choose to use this term. They're in it for the ratings, after all.

I would say that the two men don't even have a friendship, by proper definitions of the word.

At best, they share an association with each other. In this circumstance, I would say theirs was a partiality, an esteem, a favoritism for each other that now is waning as the race reaches the final lap.