divide and conquer (or rule)


divide and conquer,
also, divide and rule


  • gain an advantage over others by creating divisions.
  • gaining an advantage by inciting conflict between one’s adversaries.
  • turn one’s enemies against each other.
  • simplify a set of tasks.
  • a warfare strategy.

It refers to a strategy for maintaining power that involves getting the people reporting to you to fight among themselves so they can’t band together to overthrow you. In other words, “divide and rule” is the strategy of keeping one’s subordinates or opponents under control by fostering disagreement among them to stop them from banding together in opposition.

Example Sentences

  1. The plan today is to divide and conquer to complete our coursework.
  2. Uncertain alliances make it easier for an enemy to divide and conquer.
  3. The warlord knew how to divide and conquer.
  4. I think I’ll take the “divide and conquer” method when working on my homework.
  5. Dividing and conquering a group of people is a big mistake.
  6. They used the divide and rule strategy to weaken their opponents.
  7. A small minority has continued to govern by a policy of “divide and conquer.”
  8. He is a diplomatic person who makes full use of the policy of divide and rule.


As one of the oldest and most well-known idioms, “divide and conquer (or rule)” comes from the Latin term “Divide et impera,” which translates to “divide and rule.” While the idiom has been used for much longer than most, it was first used in English in the 1600s. Using this idiom to describe warfare between countries is quite popular, but it can be used in many other ways. The ultimate meaning is to divide others when it comes to how they think of their own situation and those around them. In order for the third party, or conqueror,” to succeed, it is easier to fight an enemy that fights itself than to fight an enemy that is united against a common foe.

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