The idiom “Divide and Conquer” meaning refers to disbanding a group of people and making them fight amongst themselves. Governments and rulers used this strategy to gain and maintain power by generating tension among less powerful groups, so they could never be united against them.
This technique was mostly used by the British when they annexed various colonies around the world. Also known as “Divide and Rule” in the UK, it was also enforced during the Partition of India in 1947. The British agreed to free India of its colonial status in return for bifurcating India into India and Pakistan.
Usage With Examples
Here’s how you can use the idiom “Divide and Conquer” in a sentence:
- The dictator tried to divide and conquer his enemies by spreading false rumors among them.
- The project manager decided to divide and conquer the work by assigning different tasks to different teams.
- The kids knew how to divide and conquer their parents by asking for different things at the same time.
Also Read: 150 Common Difficult Idioms with Examples
Divide and Conquer: Synonyms and Similar Words
Here are some synonyms and phrases which have the same meaning as the idiom “Divide and Conquer”:
- Divide and rule
- Divide and misrule
- Divide et impera (Latin for “Divide and Rule”)
- Set or pit against one another
- Sow dissension
Divide and Conquer Meaning Quiz
Which of the following sentences uses the idiom “divide and conquer” correctly?
A) The teacher decided to divide and conquer the class by giving them different assignments.
B) The government tried to divide and conquer the rebels by spreading misinformation among them.
C) The chef had to divide and conquer the cake by cutting it into equal slices.
D) The singer wanted to divide and conquer her fans by releasing different genres of music.
Correct answer: B) The government tried to divide and conquer the rebels by spreading misinformation among them.
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