How does one define, succinctly, an interaction between two objects A and B where ideas from A are used to improve B and vice versa?


  • Objects like A or B don't have ideas. People have ideas. Jun 13 at 14:51
  • @JohnLawler That's a good point. I should have written "two subjects or fields A and B...".
    – Hikaru
    Jun 13 at 15:07
  • Ah, you're talking about academic jargon. Subject and field both have too many meanings, too. So a linguist and a biologist have coffee together, sort of thing? What can they talk about? Mimicry? Symbiosis? Punctuated evolution? Phonetics? Jun 13 at 15:12
  • @JohnLawler Explicitly, A and B are two "branches" of mathematics. They have some overlap but are different in general due to the methods and goals. I want to talk about the exchange of certain disparate methods from one branch to the other: embedding one method into a method of the other branch.
    – Hikaru
    Jun 13 at 19:24
  • @Hikaru I was going to suggest mutual benefit or symbiosis, but I see the latter answer below. BTW, In Haruki Murakami's novel Killing Commendatore, one of the characters is an "idea" and the idea has many helpful ideas.
    – Zan700
    Jun 13 at 21:31

2 Answers 2


The word symbiotic is usually used to describe a mutually beneficial behaviour. Maybe the context of the question can help provide an appropriate suggestion.

Symbiotic: characterized by or being a close, cooperative, or interdependent relationship

Example: Today, art advisers are as diverse as the clients they help. They often work alone and form intimate, symbiotic relationships with the people they serve.

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/symbiotic

  • You should include an authoritative dictionary definition for you chosen word and an explantion of how it fits the question. If you need more clarity for a better anwser, you should wait for the question to be updated before posting an answer. Jun 13 at 14:00

I have found several examples from business blogs where the verb cross-pollinate is used as a metaphor for the sort of thing you are describing.



Merriam-Webster even gives the following secondary sense to the synonym cross-fertilization:

1a: fertilization in which the gametes are produced by separate individuals or sometimes by individuals of different kinds

2: interchange or interaction (as between different ideas, cultures, or categories) especially of a broadening or productive nature


Clearly these terms from biology are often used for the situation you are describing.

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