The Best of Both Worlds – Idiom, Origin & Meaning

Photo of author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Have you ever experienced the pros of two situations? Some people call that “the best of both worlds.” It’s a fairly common idiom in the English language, but what does it really mean, and when did it come about? It’s got an old origin, which I’ll explain, but you might want to take a look at my sentence examples to get a good idea of the meaning of “the best of both worlds.”

The Best of Both Worlds Meaning Explained

The Best of Both Worlds Idiom Origin Meaning 1

“The best of both worlds” is considered an idiom, in a sense. The phrase itself is super common and one we’ve used for centuries. In English, we can apply it to situations where you or someone you know is experiencing the advantages of two things simultaneously. This could be people, work, life, etc.

A great example of this is me as both a reader and an author. As a reader, I get to sit back and devour books I love. As an author, I get to be on the other end of things and create books for other readers to fall in love with. So, when you think about it, I’m getting the best of both worlds (reading and writing) in the form of books.

But, in doing so, I’m also able to tell if a book is “good” after the first few pages. On the opposite end, as a writer, I also know what a book needs for a reader to love it.

Essentially, you can use the phrase to show how you or someone you know is not just reaping the rewards of two different worlds but sometimes even enjoying them without the disadvantages that might come with either.

Origin or Etymology of the Phrase “The Best of Both Worlds”

The origin of the phrase “the best of both worlds” is believed to date back to biblical times and refers to life and death. The idea behind it is that if you were good in your first life, you’d be rewarded in your second life in heaven.

The expression became popular around the end of the 1800s and may have been derived from Voltaire’s work, Candide, published in 1759. In it, Voltaire uses the phrase: “the best of all possible worlds.”

The Best of Both Worlds Synonyms

  • Having your cake and eating it too
  • Win-win situation
  • Double advantage
  • Best of all worlds
  • Two birds with one stone
  • Optimal balance

The Best of Both Worlds Examples in a Sentence

The Best of Both Worlds Idiom Origin Meaning
  • By working from home, I get to enjoy the best of both worlds: I can be with my kids and still maintain a professional writing career.
  • Living in a small town near a bigger city gives us the best of both worlds—a quiet neighborhood and easy access to urban resources and amenities.
  • Our new hybrid car gives us the best of both worlds, fuel efficiency and the power we need for everyday use.
  • Being both a reader and a writer lets me get a taste of the best of both worlds. I know a good book when I see it, and I can also write a good book in the same light.
  • I love the flexible hours at my new job because it gives me the best of both worlds to work as late or as early as I need.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re describing your awesome work-life balance or something to do with your personal life, idioms can help make things more colorful. So, the next instance you find yourself in a win-win situation, remember that you’re experiencing the best of both worlds.