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a fellow traveler

Someone who identifies with or is sympathetic to the aims or ideology of a political movement or organization, but is not a formal or full member of it. Used especially in the 1950s in reference to those suspected of being communist sympathizers. In my grandfather's day, if someone accused you of being a fellow traveler, it was often to derail your career completely. Despite having a mark against him as a "fellow traveler," he still managed to remain at the Hollywood elite. Many people's political careers were ruined when they were incorrectly labeled "fellow travelers."
See also: fellow, traveler

a/the devil of a (something)

Used as an intensifier to indicate an extreme degree of something, especially that which is difficult, frustrating, or vexing. I'm having the devil of a time getting this computer to work. Something must be wrong with it. We knew it would be a devil of a job overhauling the entire network, but it was unavoidable. These weeds can become a devil of a nuisance if you let them grow for too long.
See also: devil, of


1. Literally, one who shares a bed with someone else. A: "This bed's big enough for two, so we can be bedfellows for the night." B: "No way! Not after you kicked me last time." My husband snores, so I think those old-fashioned couples had it right not to be bedfellows.
2. Someone closely connected to or associated with someone else. A notorious playboy musician and an ultra-conservative media pundit may be strange bedfellows, but the two are coming together all this month to bring a spotlight to suicide awareness. I thought that the two writers would make odd bedfellows, given the drastically different nature of their writing, but the books they've co-written actually work really well.
See also: bedfellow


Neatly groomed. My sister likes long-haired bad boys, but I've always thought that clean-cut guys are cuter.

devil of a (man, woman, fellow, etc.)

A person who is extremely wicked, malevolent, or unpleasant. Only a devil of a man would do something like this, knowing that it would cause harm to so many people. The leader of the gang was a devil of a woman, known to kill anyone who stood in her way.
See also: devil, of


Very friendly, often obnoxiously or disingenuously so. I don't think George is as nice as he seems—he just strikes me as hail-fellow-well-met.

regular fellow

A good-natured, dependable person. Oh, Sarah will certainly help you with that—she's a regular fellow. We're looking for a couple of regular fellows to help with our project this weekend.
See also: fellow, regular

regular guy

A good-natured, dependable man. Oh, Earl will certainly help you with that—he's a regular guy. We're looking for a couple of regular guys to help with our project this weekend.
See also: guy, regular

strange bedfellows

A pair of people, things, or groups connected in a certain situation or activity but extremely different in overall characteristics, opinions, ideologies, lifestyles, behaviors, etc. A notorious playboy musician and an ultra-conservative media pundit may be strange bedfellows, but the two are coming together all this month to bring a spotlight to suicide awareness. I thought that the two writers would make strange bedfellows, given the drastically different nature of their writing, but the books they've co-written actually work really well.
See also: bedfellow, strange
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


having to do with a person (usually male) who is neat and tidy. He's a very clean-cut guy, and polite too. He's sort of clean-cut looking, but with curly hair.


Fig. friendly to everyone; falsely friendly to everyone. (Usually said of males.) Yes, he's friendly, sort of hale-fellow-well-met. He's not a very sincere person. Hail-fellow-well-met—you know the type. What a pain he is. Good old Mr. Hail-fellow-well-met. What a phony!

regular guy

a normal and dependable guy. Don't worry about Tom. He's a regular guy. He won't give you any trouble.
See also: guy, regular
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

regular guy

Also, regular fellow. A nice or agreeable person, as in Luke's a regular guy, or Hilda's a regular fellow. [Colloquial; first half of 1800s]
See also: guy, regular

strange bedfellows

A peculiar alliance or combination, as in George and Arthur really are strange bedfellows, sharing the same job but totally different in their views . Although strictly speaking bedfellows are persons who share a bed, like husband and wife, the term has been used figuratively since the late 1400s. This particular idiom may have been invented by Shakespeare in The Tempest (2:2), "Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows." Today a common extension is politics makes strange bedfellows, meaning that politicians form peculiar associations so as to win more votes. A similar term is odd couple, a pair who share either housing or a business but are very different in most ways. This term gained currency with Neil Simon's Broadway play The Odd Couple and, even more, with the motion picture (1968) and subsequent television series based on it, contrasting housemates Felix and Oscar, one meticulously neat and obsessively punctual, the other extremely messy and casual.
See also: bedfellow, strange
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a fellow traveller

A fellow traveller is someone who supports the aims of an organization but is not a member of it. Note: `Traveller' is spelled `traveler' in American English. Although something of a critical fellow traveller, Sampson was very interested in the party.
See also: fellow, traveller
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012


showing excessive familiarity.
1979 Steven Levenkron The Best Little Girl in the World Harold was accustomed to hail-fellow-well-met salesmen and deferential secretaries and even irate accountants.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a/the ˈdevil of a job, nuisance, fellow, etc.

(old-fashioned) a difficult or an unpleasant example of something: We’re going to have a devil of a job getting the roots of that tree out of the ground.
See also: devil, of
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

hail fellow well met

On easy, congenial terms; also, superficial friendliness. This expression, which has a quintessentially Victorian ring, actually dates from the sixteenth century. Presumably it began as a greeting, but by 1550 it was being used figuratively and so appeared in Thomas Becon’s New Catechisme (“They would be ‘hail fellow well met’ with him”).
See also: fellow, hail, met, well

strange bedfellows

An odd couple; a peculiar combination. Shakespeare appears to have originated the term, with his “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows” (The Tempest, 2.2). Several centuries later, Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote (The Caxtons, 1849), “Poverty has strange bedfellows.” Today we often say that politics makes strange bedfellows, meaning that politicians form odd associations in order to win more support or votes.
See also: bedfellow, strange
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

fellow traveler

Someone sympathetic to the beliefs and activities of an organization but not a member of that group. The phrase originally applied to people in the early days of the Soviet Union who supported the Russian revolution and the Communist Party but were not members. Communism was popular among many American intellectuals during the 1930s and '40s, but following World War II, this country's attitude toward the Soviets changed in light of Stalin's purges and revelations of espionage. Accusations that Soviet sympathizers had infiltrated our government and military led to congressional investigations, and the phrase “fellow traveler” was used to label those accused of “un-American” activities or even just “Communist dupes.” Many such people found themselves blacklisted or otherwise persecuted. A rarely used vestige of the phrase now applies to anyone who agrees with any viewpoint or faction but does not publicly work for it. The Soviet Union named its early space satellites “Sputnik,” the Russian word for “fellow traveler.”
See also: fellow, traveler
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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