play both sides against the middle

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play both sides against the middle

To manipulate two opposing sides of an argument, conflict, competition, etc., against one another for one's own benefit or advantage. My father and my uncle are engaged in a bitter business rivalry. If I can play both sides against the middle, I might be able to secure some sizeable investments for my own company. Janet really dislikes Mary and wants to date her boyfriend, Mike, so she's been playing both sides against the middle to get them to break up.
See also: both, middle, play, side
References in periodicals archive ?
But Stevens claims he can still cut it at Test level and his ability to play both sides of the scrum could count in his favour in New Zealand.
He makes no bones about that his preference is being on the loose head side but he admits being prepared to play both sides does give him another string to his bow.
It reveals Cameron's appalling lack of judgment if he can pick a man prepared to play both sides of the political system to further his own ambition.
Manu, who lined up against the Lions last summer, can play both sides of the scrum, but specialises at tight-head.
Supposedly based on a true story, ``Emily'' tries to play both sides of the question of whether the possession was real.
But the Paisley outfit, currently in third place, play both sides and fancy their chances.
Keeping the peace are corrupt police and underground young vigilantes, some of whom play both sides of the law.
They donate large sums of money to politicians and "public interest" groups, but frequently play both sides, or support the wrong people - the ones pushing the hardest for legislation that will make it difficult to make a profit.
Staying authentic to AFL(R) rules, Arena Football will feature 8-on-8 play, including six players who play both sides of the ball, and the ability to send players into and over the walls with each exciting play.
Having a player of his quality who can play both sides of the scrum is a huge benefit to our front-row strength," said Blues coach David Young last night, confirming that former Wales winger Craig Morgan has joined Guinness Premiership Bristol after being released.
After months of trying to play both sides of his party - the doves, who want America to abdicate the War on Terror, and the realists, who simply want America to wage the war more effectively - Kerry firmly came down on the side of the realists.
As much as Kerry might like to play both sides of the issue, his state's highest court will force him to reconcile the conflict between his actions and his words.
He made it into the Ireland A side and is a real bonus for us with his being able to play both sides of the scrum.
Behind the scenes, certainly, there has probably been a higher level of cooperation, but the royal family has been allowed to play both sides for far too long.