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The Hungarian phrase 'mintha összebeszéltek volna' means 'as if they have agreed ahead of time – although we know that they didn't". How would this appear in English?

Edit: example. Imagine four people turning up in the office in the exact same outfit. It's just coincidence but it looks coordinated. That's when we use this phrase.

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    I would suggest as if by prearrangement. (I disagree that your question is 'opinion-based'.) Jan 2, 2022 at 8:34
  • Original question appeared to be about translation but is really about a search for an English idiom corresponding to the given translation. It is not opinion-based. I have therefore voted to reopen
    – Anton
    Jan 2, 2022 at 8:38
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    I suggest you provide more details about its meaning and usage.
    – user 66974
    Jan 2, 2022 at 10:26
  • I think you're looking for something like "It's as if [they were] in an alliance”. Maybe this interpretation will help users come up with a proper idiom or more common aphorism.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 3, 2022 at 8:14
  • Is the Hungarian saying used more often in humorous or sinister situations? Could edit and you write a sentence leaving a blank space for where you would use this idiom/adage/saying, please?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 3, 2022 at 8:27

3 Answers 3

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There are over a million hits in a Google search for 'as if in concert', probably making it idiomatic, though I'd say a fixed expression rather than an idiom. This is arguable, as the expression is obviously used metaphorically, for non-musical events.

Only the 'in concert' string is easy to find in dictionaries, but then I'm guessing that most answers here will need the 'as if' qualifier.

in concert ... [figurative]

in cooperation with someone; with the aid of someone.

  • Mrs. Smith planned the party in concert with her sister.
  • In concert they planned a lovely event.

[McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.]

As if in concert, John, Ali, Jill and Sue turned up at the fancy dress party all dressed as Cousin Itt.

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Different folks may have their own terms. In business environments it's common to hear variations of sentences involving getting or not getting a memo.

For example, if three people come in to the office wearing blue shirts, someone else might say to them or about them, "I guess I didn't get the memo". In turn, the people who did coordinate might say to each other, "looks like we all got the memo". Here's an example from reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/mildlyinteresting/comments/5vowk5/showed_up_at_work_and_everyone_was_wearing_the/

Outside of a business setting, my experience has been that people make up something on the spot or use something similar to the memo idiom but with emails or text, or they may say "twins". This Quora answer has some examples: https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-called-when-two-people-wear-the-same-clothes-in-English

I'm having trouble finding good documentation of these idioms. If someone can find that, that would be great to add to my answer.

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If they assert they agreed ahead of time and we know they did not, their actions are those of a whitewash or a cover-up. Both are misrepresentations of the truth:

Cambridge

whitewash:

to make something bad seem acceptable by hiding the truth

Merriam Webster

whitewash:

an act or instance of glossing over or of exonerating

A related noun is cover-up

Cambridge

cover-up:

an attempt to prevent the public from discovering information about a serious crime or mistake

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  • The edit made some time after this answer has changed the question significantly.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 3, 2022 at 9:08
  • I meant the addition of the example, which is an apparent co-ordination rather than a deliberate arrangement.
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 3, 2022 at 10:22
  • @AndrewLeach Thank you. I missed that point, so have deleted my now irrelevant comment.
    – Anton
    Jan 3, 2022 at 13:06

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