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 ?
"So that's what we've worked on, making sure the team can play both sides of the game."
That's what we've worked on; making sure the team can play both sides of the game Vincent Kompany
One of the diplomatic lessons learned during the Cold War between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was that, often, it is best to play both sides against each other.
Or--do they simply sit on the sidelines and play both sides?
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.
But the Paisley outfit, currently in third place, play both sides and fancy their chances.
'He can play both sides but has played most his football wide on the left.
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.
'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.
He added that the party leader Mark Durkan was clutching at straws by arguing Sinn Fein was trying to "play both sides" of the policing debate.
"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.