“In tandem” is a common idiom that is used today in everyday conversation and writing. Here you will find the meaning of this phrase, in addition to the story behind its origin. You will also find examples of how this phrase is used in everyday conversations/statements and other ways you can convey the same thought using more literal terms.
In Tandem Definition
The meaning of the idiomatic phrase “in tandem” is two things that are done together simultaneously.
Origin of this idiom
The word tandem is a Latin word that has existed since the 18th century. When the Latin word is translated to English, the word means at length. When it first appeared in the English language, the word was used to describe a horse-drawn carriage where two horses worked together to pull a carriage to its destination. In the 20th century, the meaning of this phrase changed to mean to work as a team.
“In Tandem” Examples
Examples in Statements
A statement in the local newspaper.
- “The building of the bridge and the new road must happen in tandem to postpone further delays.”
A statement made by a quarterback during an interview.
- “We must work in tandem if we have any hope of saving this season.”
Examples in Conversations
A boss speaking to one of his employees.
- Employee: So, what is the plan for getting this project done on time?
- Boss: For one, we have to all work in tandem. If we are all not on the same page, finishing the project will be impossible.
Two friends speaking to one another about a wedding.
- Friend 1: So what is on the agenda today?
- Friend 2: I have to get my nails done, check on the cake and do the last two things on my list in tandem to finish and still have enough time to make it to my bachelorette party at 9 pm.
More useful examples:
- The heart and lungs will be transplanted in tandem.
- Malcolm’s contract will run in tandem with his existing one.
- The group operated in tandem with local criminals.
- I want these two groups to work in tandem on this project.
Other Ways to Say “In Tandem”
There are many other ways you could say this idiomatic phrase in a more literal sense. Things you could say instead to convey the same thought include: I need to two do these two things at the same time, we need to make sure both are functioning simultaneously or he/she needs to be sure that things are working as a pair to be successful.
“In Tandem” synonyms:
- Hand in hand
- Same time
- At the same time