What Does A Plague on Both Your Houses Mean?

A Plague on Both Your Houses Meaning

Definition: Curse both of you.

Origin of A Plague on Both Your Houses

This expression comes from the play Romeo and Juliet. The English playwright William Shakespeare wrote this in the year 1592.

One of the characters curses the two main families in the play: the Capulets and the Montagues. These two families feuded for many years, and this fight caused many problems.

MERCUTIO:

I am hurt.

A plague o’ both your houses! I am sped.

Is he gone, and hath nothing?

The character who curses the families, Mercutio, is dying because of this feud.

Examples of A Plague on Both Your Houses

a plague o both your houses In this example, two sisters are talking to their divorced parents about plans for Christmas.

Amy: So, Mom, what are we doing for Christmas this year?

Mom: I thought we’d go to my parents’ house and you could see your grandparents. You haven’t seen them all year long.

Kimberly: That sounds fun!

Dad: Actually, I thought you should come to my parents’ house this year. You haven’t seen them either.

Amy: You guys promised not to fight about this stuff. We agreed we would take turns visiting each of you for different holidays.

Dad: Well, if you don’t come with me to Christmas, it means that you don’t love me.

Mom: Same! You’ll have to choose between us.

Kimberly: Well, a plague on both your houses! If you are going to be so rude to each other and to us, I don’t want to go to either place.

Amy: That’s right. We’ll have Christmas with our friends instead.

romeo and juliet a plague on both your houses In the second example, two friends are arguing with a third about whom she should agree with. The third friend uses a variation of the expression to show her displeasure.

Keira: I’m so glad you could come camping with us! Now that you’re here, you can help me hunt for our dinner.

Jane: Okay. That sounds fun.

Rory: What! No way, you can’t hunt! That’s cruel!

Keira: What are you talking about? You eat meat all the time. If you eat meat you should be willing to hunt for it.

Rory: No way. Jane, listen, if you hunt with Keira, I’ll never forgive you.

Keira: Don’t listen to her, Jane. If you allow her to bully you into not hunting I’ll never forgive you either.

Jane: This isn’t fun at all. You too need to stop fighting. Until then, a plague on both of you.

More Examples

This excerpt uses the quote to refer to the American political parties.

  • Some people say that there is no real difference between Republicans and Democrats. Whether that is said because of being too lazy to examine the differences or because it makes some people feel exalted to say, in effect, “a plague on both your houses,” it is a dangerous self-indulgence. –OC Register

This excerpt also uses the line to describe Republicans and Democrats.

  • Only Trump — the freest man in politics, the third-party candidate running inside the G.O.P. tent — can just say a plague on both your houses. And that line resonates because on the evidence of everything that’s happened under the last two presidents, a plague is what both houses eminently deserve. –New York Times

Summary

The phrase a plague on both your houses is a famous line from the play Romeo and Juliet that involves a dying character cursing two families that caused great problems.