have it both ways

Idioms & Phrases

have it both ways

Achieve two mutually exclusive objectives, as in Bill wants to have it both waysto enjoy Christmas at home and to travel with his friends. The related have it all means "to get everything one wants," as in It's too bad we can't have it allthe wisdom of experience and the fresh enthusiasm of youth. [Early 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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