divide and conquer


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

divide and conquer

1. To gain or maintain power by encouraging tension among underlings so that they cannot unite in opposition. Rachel is so popular because she divides and conquers all of her minions and makes sure they all dislike each other.
2. To accomplish something by having several people work on it separately and simultaneously. The only way we'll ever get this project finished on time is if we divide and conquer. I'll put the slides together while you type up the hand-out.
See also: and, conquer, divide

divide and conquer

Also, divide and govern or rule . Win by getting one's opponents to fight among themselves. For example, Divide and conquer was once a very successful policy in sub-Saharan Africa. This expression is a translation of the Latin maxim, Divide et impera ("divide and rule"), and began to appear in English about 1600.
See also: and, conquer, divide

divide and conquer

BRITISH & AMERICAN or

divide and rule

BRITISH
COMMON If you try to divide and conquer or divide and rule, you try to keep control over a group of people by encouraging them to argue amongst themselves. Trade unions are concerned that management may be tempted into a policy of divide and rule. The Summit sends a very strong message to him that he's not going to divide and conquer. Note: This expression has its origin in the Latin phrase `divide et impera'. It describes one of the tactics which the Romans used to rule their empire.
See also: and, conquer, divide

rule

in. to dominate; to be the best. (Slang only in certain contexts. Typical in graffiti.) Pizza rules around here.
References in periodicals archive ?
Splits Happen, Part II: More Candidates to Divide and Conquer
The Tate Gallery has become something of a British Guggenheim in its ambitions: Divide and conquer.
prison system; inmates perform 'outsourced' work often at less than the minimum wage; impoverished white working-class rural areas become economically dependent upon the incarcerations of largely African American, Latino, and Native American populations; and this development is justified by a rhetoric of 'getting tough on crime,' although in reality it reveals that the capitalist system cannot provide full employment at a living wage and that it promotes a politics of divide and conquer.
It's been able to divide and conquer like never before.
Arguing that democratization is an ongoing process, fundamental to human social evolution, rather than a fixed constitutional formula, and calling for a new compromise between capital and labor that emphasizes the importance of solidarity and reconstructs an internationalism that does not divide and conquer neighboring regions, The Liberal Virus is actually a razor-keen warning of how wrong-headed intervention can be as poisonous as imperialism once was.
Retailers may order DIVIDE and CONQUER through Ingram Book Company and/or Spring Arbor Book Distributors.