Both ends against the middle

Posted by Bruce Kahl on May 16, 2005

In Reply to: Both ends against the middle posted by Capeci on May 15, 2005

: What does it mean to "play both ends against the middle?" And what is the origin of this phrase? Thanks!

I have always taken this to mean something my kids used to use on me and my wife.

They would ask my wife for permission to do something and she would say no.

They would then come to me, the more liberal of the family, and word the request in such a way that it gave the impression that my wife said it was ok--sorta like "Well mom said it was ok it you say it is ok".

They are playing both ends against the middle.

I do not know the origin.