Textile Idiom Series: “Cut from the same cloth”

March 13, 2023

Much of our everyday language—in the form of idioms, clichés, or metaphors—makes reference to textiles. Using these phrases, we weave stories, spin tales, and thread narratives. But where do these expressions come from, and what do they mean? 

In a new blog series posted on intermittent Mondays, we will be unpacking textile-related idioms. Stay tuned to learn their metaphorical and historical meanings. 

In use since the beginning of the twentieth century, “cut from the same cloth” refers to two or more individuals displaying similar characteristics or behavior. The similarities in question may be positive or negative, and the individuals are not always genetically related. 

While the exact origins of this idiom are unknown, the term most likely comes from the tailoring industry, describing the making of separate articles of clothing from the same piece of cloth. Although these clothing items would appear different, they were created by the same source. The phrase could also refer to families making clothing for themselves out of the same pieces of cloth, creating matching articles worn by all members of the family.