It Takes Two To Tango (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "It Takes Two To Tango"?

The term "it takes two to tango" means the active cooperation of two parties is needed.
It Takes Two To Tango (Origin)
The tango is a partner dance that originated in the 1880s along the Rio de la Plata (the natural border between Argentina and Uruguay). It is often described as "the language of romance," as it features unpredictable pushing and pulling between two partners. Given its nature, the tango must be performed with a partner. Therefore, "it takes two to tango" has become a response to an individual being blamed for something that must have required the willing participation of two people.

Examples of Use:

  • Yes, I did pursue her, but it takes two to tango.
  • (Often, the word "tango" is a metaphor for engaging in sex.)
  • I can't be blamed for ruining the party. The argument was your fault too. It takes two to tango.
  • To reach a compromise, both parties need to be at the talks. It takes two to tango.
"It takes two to tango" is a great example of alliteration, and this undoubtedly adds to its popularity as a saying.

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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs

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