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share and share alike (uncountable)

  1. (idiomatic) For members of a group, equal portions of or equal access to tangible or intangible goods, entitlements, or obligations—i.e., each person's share like each of the other shares.
    • 1697, Daniel Defoe, "Of Academies" in An Essay Upon Projects:
      [E]xquisite beauty is rarely given with wit, more rarely with goodness of temper, and never at all with modesty. And some, pretending to justify the equity of such a distribution, will tell us it is the effect of the justice of Providence in dividing particular excellences among all His creatures, "Share and share alike, as it were," that all might for something or other be acceptable to one another.
    • 1898, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Tragedy of the Korosko, ch. 8:
      "No, no, share and share alike," he cried. "All sink or all swim, and the devil take the flincher."
    • 1921, B. M. Bower, Sawtooth Ranch, ch. 1:
      Share and share alike, they lived and worked and wrangled together like brothers.
  2. (law) Equal rights to or equal portions of profits, assets, bequests, or other valuable items legally owed to investors, partners, beneficiaries, or other named associates.
    • 1845, James Fenimore Cooper, Satanstoe, ch. 4:
      "And your father and mine have purchased all this land in company, you say—share and share alike, as the lawyers call it."
    • 1850, Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, ch. 31:
      [O]n his decease, the principal to be equally divided between Peggotty, little Emily, and me, or the survivor or survivors of us, share and share alike.
    • 2000 Sept. 27, "In Our Pages 75 Years Ago," New York Times (retrieved 4 Sept 2013):
      [T]he husband, ordered by the court to divide his property share and share alike, sawed the family piano in half, together with the tables, chairs, pictures, rugs and draperies, and loading these on a truck had the halves carted to the new home of his wife.

Usage notesEdit

  • This noun is usually used as modifier describing a situation or action, with the sense "in equal portions".
  • When used as a modifier, share and share alike is often hyphenated if it immediately precedes the term it modifies, as in:
[T]he residents of Ridgeland would share the cost of the project on a share-and-share-alike basis.


share and share alike (third-person singular simple present shares and shares alike, present participle sharing and sharing alike, simple past and past participle shared and shared alike)

  1. (idiomatic) To divide possessions, benefits, or obligations equally among members of a group.
    • 1893, Horatio Alger, In A New World: Among the Gold Fields of Australia, ch. 3:
      "Our money will soon be gone at that rate," said Jack soberly. "Mine is already gone."
      "No, it isn't, Jack. We are going to share and share alike, you know."
    • 1895, Howard Pyle, "Much shall have more and little shall have less" in Twilight Land:
      To be sure, until now they had always shared and shared alike, but here was the first great lump of good-luck that had ever fallen in his way, and he was not for spoiling it by cutting it in two to give half to a poor beggar-man such as his brother.
    • 1986 Jan. 5, Sue Blocker et al., "New Laws Affecting Area Kicked In Jan. 1," The Telegraph-Herald, p. 3 (retrieved 4 Sept 2013):
      In Wisconsin, the childhood rule to share and share alike became the law of the land for married couples under the state's new marital property law.