What Does Joined at the Hip Mean?

Joined at the Hip Meaning

Definition: To have a close relationship with someone, in which the two people spend a lot of their time together.

Origin of Joined at the Hip

Most sources speculate that this expression comes from the phenomenon of conjoined twins. These are twin babies who grew together in the womb to physically share some of the same body parts and can only be separated through surgery.

Conjoined twins certainly have a very close relationship to one another, and spend literally all of their time together.

There have been famous conjoined twins in the past, including Chang and Eng Bunker. Chand and Eng were from Siam, and their international fame is where the term Siamese twins originated. That said, Chang and Eng were conjoined by the sternum, not the hips, so this as an origin story seems unlikely.

It’s impossible to say which set of twins, if any, triggered this expression, but it originated in the 1960s in the United States and is now used in a figurative sense.

Examples of Joined at the Hip

tied at the hip meaning The dialogue below shows two university students discussing who should join their group for a group project.

Nisha: I usually hate group work, but I feel like you and I work well together.

Alan: Yeah, I wouldn’t mind working in a group with you, but we’ll need a third person. The professor said every group must have exactly three people.

Nisha: Hmmm. I know! Let’s invite Clara to work with us.

Alan: She won’t do it. Her best friend, Aimee, is in the class, and they’re joined at the hip. They’d never separate from each other for a group project.

attached to the hip The second dialogue shows a father and son discussing the son’s social life.

Son: What did you want to talk to me about?

Dad: I’m a little worried that you don’t have enough friends. I’d like you to pick a sport and join a team. I think it would help you meet people.

Son: That’s insulting! I have friends!

Dad: You have Tyler. But that’s only one friend. And I’m worried that you spend too much time with him. You two are joined at the hip! What happens when you go to different schools next year? I’m worried you’ll get depressed.

More Examples

The excerpt describes how a car brand has a very close relationship with the actor Matthew McConaughy.

  • Sure, Volkswagen had Wilt Chamberlain, Buick had Tiger Woods (though in retrospect, maybe not the best idea) and Kia has Blake Griffin, but for better or for worse, Ford Motor Company’s luxury brand is joined at the hip with the surly Southern silver screen star. –New York Daily News

This excerpt uses the idiom to say that a man and woman have been spending all their time together.

  • The sock designer, currently joined at the hip to his new girlfriend, Blac Chyna, has been shacked up with the polarizing model for weeks. –New York Daily News

Summary

The phrase joined at the hip means always together and usually describes two friends.