have it both ways

have it both ways

To be able to have two contradictory things at once. I know you love ice cream, but you can't eat it every day and lose weight—you just can't have it both ways.
See also: both, have, way

have it both ways

to have both of two incompatible things. John wants the security of marriage and the freedom of being single. He wants to have it both ways. John thinks he can have it both ways—the wisdom of old age and the vigor of youth.
See also: both, have, way

have it both ways

Achieve two mutually exclusive objectives, as in Bill wants to have it both ways-to enjoy Christmas at home and to travel with his friends . The related have it all means "to get everything one wants," as in It's too bad we can't have it all-the wisdom of experience and the fresh enthusiasm of youth . [Early 1900s]
See also: both, have, way

have it both ways

benefit from two incompatible ways of thinking or behaving.
1998 New Scientist It is only now dawning on the legislators that they cannot have it both ways—that cleanliness and ecological friendliness are incompatible.
See also: both, have, way