make common cause


make common cause,
also, have common cause


  • to enter into an agreement or shared effort, especially for expedient purposes and with a party (or parties) otherwise deemed to be enemies.
  • to work together in order to achieve a goal that both parties want.
  • team up to achieve something that is beneficial for each other.

Example Sentences

  1. We have set aside our disagreements and made common cause.
  2. While they individually had different agendas and conflicting aims, ultimately, all parties agreed to make common cause in defense of their homeland.
  3. Environment protesters have “made common cause” with local people to prevent the setting up of factories and chemical plants on fertile land.
  4. While the locally owned grocers stand in a competitive relationship with one another, they have nevertheless made common cause and rallied opposition to the city’s proposal to offer tax incentives to the big-box store.
  5. I believe I have common cause with him and we can work together to reach an agreement.


The phrase “common cause” was used as early as the 17th century in reference to a shared aim. The present idiom refers to either making an effort to engage in such a venture or to succeed in doing so.

The full form of the idiom, “make common cause,” appears in early 19th-century parliamentary proceedings. An 1808 record uses the phrase in regard to the relationship between the British and Ottoman empires. A later (1828) record of the minutes of the House of Commons attributes the phrase to numerous MPs who were debating the possibility that political and religious dissidents might ally with Catholics. One entry explains:

[John Wood] was convinced that, whatever might be the reason which prevented the Dissenters from making common cause with the Catholics, they would never effect any thing until they did make common cause with all who thought that men ought to be allowed to worship God in whatever way they pleased. (The Mirror of Parliament, 1828, p. 274.)

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