What does the idiom "Birds of a feather flock together" mean?

The expression Birds of a feather flock together is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the Birds of a feather flock together idiom.

Meaning of "Birds of a feather flock together"


The phrase “birds of a feather flock together” is an idiom that refers to the idea that people of similar interests, beliefs, or backgrounds associate with each other. It is often interpreted that those who have similar traits or personalities tend to gravitate towards each other and form social groups or friendships. This phrase can also be used to describe how two people with similar ideas feel more comfortable with each other because they both share the same opinion.


The earliest known use of this phrase dates back to 1545 and can be found in a book by John Heywood titled A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue. The full phrase reads “Byrdes of on kynde and color fere togydir," which when translated means "birds of one kind and colour fly together." This phrase is still in use today, although it has been altered slightly to form the version most commonly used.


The phrase “birds of a feather flock together” is often used to refer to the idea that individuals of similar interests and backgrounds tend to form social bonds with each other. It can be used as a way of pointing out how two people with common beliefs, values, or even hobbies usually become friends. This phrase can also be interpreted to mean that people will like those who are more like themselves and avoid those who are not.

Example Sentences

  • I'm not surprised that the two of them are friends - birds of a feather flock together, after all.
  • He always seems to have the same opinion as his friends; birds of a feather flock together.
  • It's not surprising that she's so successful; she's surrounded herself with like-minded people - birds of a feather flock together.

The meanings of the words in the "Birds of a feather flock together" idiom

The Surprising Origins of Everyday English Idioms

Many English idioms have surprisingly dark origins, often rooted in violence, death, and superstition. For instance, the phrase "raining cats and dogs" is said to have originated in the 17th century, when heavy rain would often cause dead animals to wash up on the streets. Meanwhile, the idiom "rule of thumb" is believed to have originated from a law that allowed men to beat their wives with a stick no thicker than their thumb.


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