On many occasions, “hand in glove” is used to describe two people or groups acting together for a dishonest purpose. But sometimes, the phrase simply means combined action or effort.
“Hand in glove” is an idiomatic expression that means “working together” or engaging in combined effort or action toward something.
Another phrase you can use alternatively is “arm in arm,” “shoulder to shoulder,” or “In lockstep.” But to simplify the expression, you can use “very closely.”
While the above alternative phrases are ideal substitutes, they may not be the best for every situation.
For instance, while writing, you may need variety or a similar phrase for a more effective context blend.
Sometimes, “hand in glove” may not tally with regional or personal preferences in the context of your communication. These similar phrases to ‘hand in glove’ come in here.
In this article, I will show you 15 similar phrases like “Hand in Glove.”
An ideal way to start is to be sure we’re on the same page regarding what “hand in glove” means.
15 Phrases like ‘Hand in Glove”
The perfect replacement for the phrase “hand in glove” has to maintain the colloquial meaning of two people or things working closely together in a way that is very cooperative and mutually supportive.
A similar phrase should also correctly fit into a sentence about a close and harmonious relationship between two entities. Here are the best options:
1. Very closely
“very closely” is a similar phrase you can use in place of “hands in glove,” as they both mean the same thing.
This is ideal if you want a more simplistic alternative without extreme idiomatic expressions. It is easier to understand and will sync with most communication contexts.
- The two detectives worked hands in glove to solve the case
- The two detectives worked very closely to solve the case
This phrase may not work in every situation, though. “very closely” best suits a business or formal context and doesn’t require idiomatic expressions.
2. Arm in arm
You can use “arm in arm” to replace the phrase ‘hand in glove’ as they both mean the collaborative effort of two people, groups, or entities.
- The marketing and sales teams work hand in glove to promote the new product.
- The marketing and sales teams work arm in arm to promote the new product.
When you use Arm in Arm, you are insinuating that the two entities work or act together closely to achieve a goal.
3. In tandem
“In tandem” is a phrase that means “alongside each other.” While it is another similar phrase to “hand in glove,” it’s not as versatile as the latter.
You use “in tandem” to replace “hand in glove,” particularly when the two entities you’re referring to are inanimate concepts. For example, you can’t replace “hand in glove” with “in tandem” when discussing two people or groups.
It is best used when you are describing the collaborative effort or relationship between two objects (tangible or intangible)
- A tight fiscal policy works hand in glove with a tight foreign exchange policy
- A tight fiscal policy working in tandem with a tight foreign exchange policy
4. In lockstep
When you use “in lockstep,” it means two people or entities are acting similarly – this describes what it looks like for two people to work “hand in glove.” Hence, “in lockstep” is another wonderful alternative phrase to use instead of “hand in glove.”
However, it all boils down to the application of the sentence.
Lockstep means being in complete agreement with someone or something. So it may not be much of an action phrase as “hand in glove,” but it serves as an ideal alternative in a wide array of contexts.
5. Cheek to cheek
The literal meaning of “cheek to cheek” is when two people are dancing with their heads close together in a romantic way.
But the idiomatic part of this phrase allows it to be creatively used in a wide array of contexts so much so that it effectively serves as a substitute for “hand in glove.”
When you say two entities are working “cheek to cheek, ” they are working hand in glove.
If you prefer to use alternative phrases to hand in glove because you find them more interesting, expressive, or creative, then cheek-to-cheek-to-cheek is a solid option.
Experimenting with language and finding new ways to express yourself is always good.
6. Close together
Another similar phrase to “hand in glove” is “close together.” This replacement is best used when you want a less ambiguous and idiomatic expression, especially when speaking or writing in a formal tone.
When people work hand in glove, it means they work closely together. So using this alternative phrase is like using the literal meaning of “hand in glove.”
Also, close together is generally understandable and popularly used. So if you’re unsure about your listener or reader understanding “hand in glove,” then it’s better to use something more comprehensive – Close together.
7. Hand in hand
“Hand in hand” is quite a popular expression for describing two entities working closely or in combined effort/collaboration. So you can use this phrase instead of “hand in glove” to avoid confusion or misinterpretation.
- The feds and the robbers are working hand in glove behind our backs.
- The feds and the robbers are working hand in hand behind our backs.
“Hand in hand” is also versatile such that it correctly fits most contexts where you’d use ‘hand in glove.”
8. On one side
“on one side” is another way to say “hand in glove,” as they both have the same meaning. When you say someone is working on one side with another person, it means both entities are in liaison or combining efforts towards a purpose.
- I’m hand in glove with the fugitive
- I’m on one side of the fugitive life
The idiomatic expression stems from the idea that you must be on the same side as someone you want to collaborate with. Hence, being on one side with someone you’re in glove with.
9. Shoulder to shoulder
Acting shoulder to shoulder means acting together towards a common aim with a united effort. So when you want to replace “hand in glove,” you can say both entities act shoulder to shoulder.
The phrase could be clearer because it can also mean side by side with something. But in most contexts, shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder means collaborative effort – the very description of the phrase “hand in glove.”
- We fought hand in glove with the government
- We fought shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder with the government
The efficacy of this phrase as a substitute for ‘Hand in glove’ also depends on the situation and style of application. There are better options if you need a replacement phrase with a reduced idiomatic imprint.
But ‘Shoulder to shoulder’ is an excellent replacement for ‘hand in glove’ if you want to retain the information and keep things creative.
10. Side by side
The straightforward interpretation for side by side is together. Hand in glove also means an act that is done together.
So, if you’re bored of the repetitive usage of “hand in glove,” then you can swap the expression side by side.
But it is best used as a substitute when the context revolves around two entities, groups, or people, working side by side, either in the same place or circumstances or having lived peacefully for many years.
But in a work context, side by side means when people work or live closely together in a friendly way.
11. Yardarm to yardarm
Yardarm has so many meanings. In the marine, Yardarm is said to be either end of the yard of a square-rigged ship.
Whereas, the general use today of this term is about the time of the day when it is deemed necessary to have an alcoholic drink, typically in the evening.
But when you say Yardarm to Yardarm, it means ‘very close to each other,” which is pretty much the same meaning as hand in glove.
So with this alternative phrase, you are leveling up your creativity and retaining the actual message of expression.
12. In cahoots
If the context in which you’re using ‘hand in glove’ is to describe the collaboration of two groups for dishonest purposes, then you can use “in cahoots’ as a perfect replacement,
“In Cahoots” generally means when people conspire together secretly. So you have to understand the context and tread carefully before using this phrase. If two entities are working closely for a genuine purpose, then this is not the right word.
You can replace “hand in glove” with “in cahoots” if the context means two people in alliance or partnership to do something bad.
- Drug traffickers are hand in glove with prisoners for the deal to work
- Drug traffickers are in cahoots with prisoners for the deal to work
13. In close association
“In close association” is pretty self-explanatory. It is a loose way to say someone is hand in glove with another. So this will serve as an ideal substitute if, again, you need an alternative phrase with rather a simplistic expression.
For example, instead of using hand in glove repetitively, you can say, “James and Frank were in close association (hand in glove) throughout the entire heist.“
14. Thick as thieves
With this alternative, you still stick within the borders of using idiomatic expressions but bringing variety to the mix.
When you describe two entities as “thick as thieves” it means they have a close relationship and do things together and collaboratively, often in secret.
If the subjects you are describing to be hand-in gloves are secretive and do things undercover for an ulterior motive, then this is the perfect alternative word to use.
- John and Dave are handed in glove
- John and Dave are thick as thieves
15. Joined at the hip
It’s a figurative expression that means two people are so close that they are almost considered one person.
While the idiom stems from the phenomenon of conjoined twins (Siamese twins) it also underlines the very expression of hand in glove. Hence, it is a perfect replacement.
- Those two kids used to be hand-in gloves
- The two kids used to be joined at the hip.
As a radio presenter, I understand how using the same phrase repeatedly can make your writing or speech sound monotonous. So when you use alternative phrases to “hand in glove”, you can add some variety to your language.
Also, in some situations, “hand in glove” doesn’t sound appropriate for the context. Imagine you’re writing a business report, and you want to mention the collaborative effort of two people.
Using an idiom might not be appropriate in such a case, so you can use a more formal or technical phrase as explained in the above article.
I hope you found this helpful.
P.S.: If there are other alternative phrases to ‘hand in glove’ that you thought of while reading this article and I forgot to add, it’s a fantastic opportunity to share your thoughts in the comment section.