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What Does “Best Of Both Worlds” Mean? How To Use It

What Does “Best Of Both Worlds” Mean? How To Use It

You may not even realize it but you probably use many different colloquial phrases in both your conversations and your writing. These phrases have become so common that you may be embarrassed when you don’t know the meaning of one of them.

While nobody is certain where the phrase “the best of both worlds” comes from, its meaning is for certain. This phrase is making reference to having all the advantages of two different situations while having none of the disadvantages of either of these situations.

Meaning of the Phrase

“The best of both worlds” (a.k.a. “the best of all possible worlds) commonly means that you’re in a situation that gives you all of the advantages and none of the disadvantages of two different things. When you find yourself in a situation like this you’ll be able to enjoy the benefit of two different opportunities. Oftentimes these things inherent nature are polar opposites of one another so you may find yourself in a position where you have to conceal the fact that you’re involved in one or both of them.

best of both worlds


When you’re looking for a word that has the same meaning as this phrase you may one to try one of these words:

  • calm
  • comfort
  • freedom
  • the good life
  • harmony
  • high ground
  • luxury
  • paradise
  • peace
  • privilege

Synonymous Phrases

There are also a few phrases that have the same meaning as “best of both worlds.” For instance, you may consider saying that something does both of these things “in one fell swoop” which means that it does multiple things at the same time, with only one action. You can also say that something was “a win-win situation” which means that you were able to get the advantages of two different or contrasting things at the same time.

Antonymous Phrases

Some phrases can also be used to mean the opposite of the “best of both worlds.” For instance, to mean the exact opposite here you’d simply say that something is “the worst of both worlds” or that it’s “the worst of all possible worlds.” There are some other phrases that you may also want to use in this regard. They include:

  • all the disadvantages of every situation
  • combination of the worst
  • disadvantages of two different situations
  • disadvantages of two opposed prior solutions
  • inversion of best of both worlds
  • lose-lose game/situation
  • worst attributes/features of two different circumstances/situations/things
  • worst of many/two very different situations

The Concept Behind This Phrase

Oftentimes people will use the concept behind this phrase when selling or marketing products and services. For this to be an effective means of advertising it’s important for the phrase to be used to describe benefits that people think of as being mutually exclusive or at the very least rarely combined. An example would be in the combination of a big city (close to businesses but full of noisy traffic) and a small town (peaceful but without many businesses). An option that’d provide the “best of both worlds” here would give you the benefits of both a big city and a small town while eliminating the less desirable aspects.

“The Best of Both Worlds” in Hotels

Hotels have been using this saying for quite some time now. For instance, you may see a hotel advertising that it offers “the services of a boutique hotel at the price of a chain hotel.” Here you’re being told that you’ll receive a boutique hotel’s benefits (e.g. service, experience) but you’ll pay the same as you would if you’d stayed at a chain hotel. This means that you now have an option (a hotel) that provides you with “the best of both worlds.”

“The Best of Both Worlds” in Real Estate and Tourism

Two other industries that’ll also frequently use this saying are real estate and tourism. These industries want you to think that they’re offering you locations that are the “best of both worlds.” Sometimes they may not even come out and say this but their ads will demonstrate the concept nonetheless. For instance, an ad may show a master-planned community that’s close to shopping and dining in a big city that’s located nearby but at the same time, it’ll also show you that the community also offers you quiet, green spaces like those that are more commonly found in a small town. What this means is that you’re able to get the most desired aspects o both locations in this community.

feather rock

Origins of the Phrase

Nobody knows for sure where this phrase originated but it’s been found in the English language since at least the late 1800s. Some people believe that it’s evolved from the saying “the best of all possible worlds.” This is a phrase that is first found in publication in 1759 in a satire that’s entitled “Candide” by Voltaire. We then find it repeated frequently in literature over the next several decades until it was commonly used in everyday conversation as well as in pop culture. Today we see it being used frequently in books, movies, and on television. It’s also been used as the title of many books, magazine articles, songs, and television episodes throughout the years.

Religious Origins

“The best of both worlds” is a phrase that has religious undertones. Here its reference to two worlds is referring to this life and the afterlife. When used in this way it means that a person has been truly successful. For instance, in the Bible, we read about how those who do good deeds for others while alive will get to enjoy the fruits of heaven hence enjoying the “best of both worlds.”

Urban Slang’s Origins

Clearly to have the “best of both worlds” is to gain advantages from two different sources. In urban culture, this phrase is often abbreviated as BOBW and used in reference to someone who is bisexual saying that they get to enjoy having sex with both men and women – the “best of both worlds.”

Pop Culture’s Origins

This phrase became really famous in popular culture thanks to the Disney TV series, “Hannah Montana.” Here we see a teenage girl who gets the “best of both worlds” because she’s able to live a normal life while being a rockstar. However, this isn’t the only place where it’s found its way onto a TV series. The phrase also serves as the title for Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 3, Episodes 26 and 27. In these 1990 shows, we watch the Enterprise have a deadly encounter with the Borg who kidnap Pickard at the same time as Commander Riker encounters a beautiful rival.

group meeting

How to Use This Phrase

Today the phrase “best of both worlds” is used in everyday conversations but you can’t simply force it to fit your situation. Oftentimes this phrase is used alongside the word “can’t” in saying “you can’t have the best of both worlds.” When used in this way it simply means that you can’t have both of the things you’re comparing at the same time.

More English Idioms

Example Sentences

Now that you have a better understanding of what this phrase means and how it’s used you may want to try to fit it into some of your everyday conversations. Here are some examples sentences that’ll help you get started:

  • I’m thankful to have the best of both worlds – a great family and a job I enjoy.
  • Although she works in the city she lives in the country so she gets to enjoy the best of both worlds.
  • She set up her living room with an office at one end and sofas at the other so she could enjoy the best of both worlds.
  • Dana not only gets to enjoy her freedom as a student but also gets paid by the university for her fellowship so she’s got the best of both worlds.
  • They live in a village that’s 30 minutes from town so they get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
  • In forming a bipartisan committee they were hoping to form something that’d represent the best of both worlds.
  • She got the best of both worlds since her apartment included an electric oven with a separate gas stovetop.
  • While at university I had the best of both worlds since I had the privileges of a professor while I was a student.
  • She truly believed that she’d be rewarded for her work on earth by the fruit in heaven thereby giving her the best of both worlds.
  • The closest town was only 15 minutes away and yet we lived in the country enjoying the best of both worlds.


Whether you want to say you can or you can’t have the “best of both worlds” the meaning will still remain the same. You’ll still be using this phrase to compare two different things. The only difference lies in the fact of whether or not you’ll be able to enjoy these two different things at the same time. Hopefully, now that you understand this you’ll feel better about using this saying in your conversations.