Is there an idiom about someone who surprisingly relates two unrelated things in an unbelievable story?

"Cock and bull story" seems to be used mainly about complex stories told as an excuse (e.g., see examples provided here), and after all, it doesn't necessarily contain two unrelated things which have been surprisingly related: What matters is that the story is implausible.

The answer may be an idiom in the form of "He relates X with Y!" (for example "He relates pants with pandas!").

  • apophenia seems to be the nondeliberate counterpart of what the person in question is doing. Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 7:53
  • An optimistic matchmaker. A dealer in pretentious metaphors. Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 11:56

3 Answers 3


strange bedfellows


—often used in the phrase strange bedfellows to describe an unlikely alliance of people or things m-w

Polities and good architecture are strange bedfellows, but in Barcelona the marriage has worked.

A pair of people, things, or groups connected in a certain situation or activity but extremely different in overall characteristics, opinions, ideologies, lifestyles, behaviors, etc.

A notorious playboy musician and an ultra-conservative media pundit may be strange bedfellows, but the two are coming together all this month to bring a spotlight to suicide awareness. Farlex Dictionary of Idioms

... including not only relatively well-known films like Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein (1974), but also some very strange bedfellows like Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter (1966), and even Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie (1984). Garry Gillard; Empowering Readers: Ten Approaches to Narrative

  • 1
    Chalk and cheese is another one that I've heard from Australians, though not Americans. Usually it's a measure - as different as chalk and cheese. Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 15:00
  • Chalk and Cheese is British English dating back to 14th century and still used.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 15:50
  • Apples/oranges and chalk/cheese, although interesting, are both about contrasting/comparing two things per se, not making a story. My question is more about when you weave a story to relate the fact that, say, "oranges are round" to the fact that "apples are red"! Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 21:05
  • I've changed my first answer, "Comparing apples and oranges," now that I understand the question better.
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 0:43
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    I don't think strange bedfellows captures the unreliability of the story's provenance. Apples and oranges works for dissonant concepts, but not in the context of a confabulated or bull(sh*tted) story involving unrelated components.
    – TristanK
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 2:07

"Difference between heaven and earth"

This is a famous Chinese idiom. It means that the two things in consideration really couldn't have been further apart.


This concept (weaving a story where you compare two dissimilar things) is very specific and simply doesn't have a dedicated idiom in English, you'll need to use two: "That cock and bull story doesn't make any sense! They're like apples and oranges!" Or something to that effect.

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