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paired with tweedledee to signify two things or persons nearly alike, differing in name, 1725, coined by English poet John Byrom (1692-1767) in his satire "On the Feud Between Handel and Bononcini," a couple of competing musicians, from tweedle "to sing, to whistle" (1680s), of imitative origin. The -dum and -dee perhaps suggest low and high sounds respectively.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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