"Like a halved Pinang" is an expression in my native language to compare the appearance of two persons who are alike/very similar/like a twin.

Note: Pinang (lat. Area catechu) is a species of palm which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa.

What is the equal English expression for Like a halved Pinang?

Note: Thanks for your responses. I should really be careful to use the expressions suggested that fit my native culture. For instance:

  1. doppleganger, I think I can't equally use it as the translation of a halved Pinang.

  2. cut from the same cloth doesn't ring the bell either, because my native expression refers to a case that may include non-relative persons, although it is usually applied for a twin.

  3. long-lost brother/sister/sibling/twin, I sense that it explains the situation that you haven't met someone for a long time.

Anymore input please? :)

Pics of Pinang:

enter image description here enter image description here

  • How about "they're like identical twins", without adding in the long-lost connotation? Mirror image might also work. thesaurus.com/browse/dead%20ringer also offers 'carbon copy' and several others.
    – user32344
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 3:12
  • As to your comments, don't assume these expressions have such tight restrictions just because of one or two example sentences from a dictionary. For instance, cut from the same cloth need not refer to a relative. For example, a book about the music group The Grateful Dead reads: Garcia and Sinclair were cut from the same cloth, talking about how the band's leader and manager got along very well. And in a fiction book called The Quantum Quandary, one of the characters says: "You know, in silhouette, you two look like long-lost brothers," meaning that they are like, well, halved pinangs.
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 18:50
  • @J.R. It is never plural, only a halved pinang :)
    – Student
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 4:03
  • 1
    @Student - Thanks. BTW, I thought of this question yesterday while at work. A co-worker found a picture on the internet; she thought it looked kind of like me. So she sent it ito a few mutual friends, in an email with the subject line Doppelganger, and a co-worker replied that it looked like a "long-lost son" of mine. Interesting.
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 10:57

11 Answers 11


The phrase I would use is 'like two peas in a pod'. It's used in both British and American English, and keeps the plant theme.

  • 9
    This expression came to my mind, too, but it seems like I've mostly heard this when two people behave the same way, and not so much when they look the same. When I looked up the idiom in TFD, their example usage seemed to reinforce that: two peas in a pod (idiom) very similar; two of a kind : We were two peas in a pod – we liked all the same things, and we did everything together. That said, the definition found in CDO would back you up: like two peas in a pod - very ​similar, ​especially in ​appearance : The ​twins are like two ​peas in a ​pod.
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 9:04
  • I have much more often heard this used to describe physical appearance than behavior.
    – barbecue
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 3:00

If two people whose physical appearance, particularly the face, there's an expression, "long-lost brother/sister/sibling/twin"

i.e., Person A looks like Emma Stone, we could comment by saying, "Hey, you might be Emma Stone's long-lost sister!"

  • 7
    Good one! A variant of this one is: "Were you and Emma Stone separated at birth?"
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 9:12
  • I agree that these answers are probably the most fitting for people.
    – Inazuma
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 10:26
  • Separated at birth is what I hear most often in American English. Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 10:49
  • A long-lost sister usually means a sister that you haven't seen for a long time.
    – Khan
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 11:35
  • 4
    @Khan While that is the literal meaning, the phrase is commonly used as described colloquially, especially when qualified in terms of a person "looking like" that. Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 14:57

I say a closer phrase would be that the two people are the spitting image of each other.


I've heard the word doppelganger used to describe an uncanny resemblance, but learners might want to be careful with that word.

As the Wikipedia page says, sometimes a doppleganger is considered to be an evil twin, or an ill omen. However, the article goes on to say:

The word doppelgänger is often used in a more general sense to describe any person who physically or behaviorally resembles another person.

Though I might be careful about using this word when talking with a stranger, I think it's worth mentioning for the sake of completeness.

  • I don't think it would be appropriate with that expression, considering my native culture. Anyway, thanks.
    – Student
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 9:24
  • 4
    I hear this all the time when the two people who look alike have never met. E.g., "John, I totally saw your doppelganger on the subway this morning." The original meaning of doppelganger is a bit sinister, but most people in the US don't really know about that. Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 10:47
  • 2
    I agree that in the U.S., this has lost most of its sinister implication. Reference all the Facebook-style quizzes that invite you to find out "who your celebrity doppelganger is." google.com/#q=who's%20your%20celebrity%20doppelganger
    – Adam
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 19:13

There are many idioms that convey the same meaning as "Like a halved Pinang".

I'm guessing it means that the fruit, when cut into two pieces, looks exactly the same. Thereby highlighting the similarity between the two halves, which can be used metaphorically.

This is just one among many, but the only one that comes to mind right now:

cut from the same cloth.

Two pieces of cloth, that are cut from the same material will look exactly the same (provided they are cut identically). They will have the same features, like texture, which, again can be used metaphorically.

Read more about 'cut from the same cloth'.

Also, you could simply replace the fruit from your region, with a universal fruit, say, an Apple?

"Two halves of an Apple".

Make sure the fruit is symmetrical when cut. You could use Oranges, Mangoes also.

  • 2
    I like your cut from the same cloth suggestion, but I have mixed feelings about two halves of an orange. I mean, I suppose you could use it, but it wouldn't be a familiar idiom, and it might get you a puzzled look if the context didn't make your meaning clear.
    – J.R.
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 9:09
  • "Two halves of a whole" is quite frequently used and can probably be applied more generally.
    – Inazuma
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 10:24
  • 3
    "two halves of a pear" if you're feeling punny :)
    – user32344
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 3:22

"Dead Ringer" implies more of an exact duplicate (or rendering) rather than two halves -- but it does seem to be often used to express that two people look like twins.

Urban Dictionary's example use of the phrase is, "Wow, that guy's a dead ringer for Elvis Presley, I thought he was back from the dead!"


If you are referring specifically to appearance, a very common phrase in British English would be 'the spitting image'. I have no idea where it comes from, but most British people would know what you mean if you said; "These two people look alike, in fact they are the spitting image of each other!" or "She is the spitting image of her mother" etc.

I don't know but I suspect that it isn't very common in American English though. Also worth noting there was a British sitcom 'Spitting Image' in the 80s, famous for impersonating famous figures with puppets - probably where the show got it's name.


The first thing that comes to mind is "separated at birth" which as mentioned above is a variant of the metaphor in shin's "long-lost X" answer.

The second thing I haven't seen anyone else mention, is "cast from the same mold", which is another crafting metaphor like "cut from the same cloth". It also relates to the phrase "when they made you, they broke the mold", which is a way of saying someone is unique, often with a slightly demeaning tone.

  • Look-alike

Someone who looks just like you is your look-alike. Warren Zevon - "Poisonous Look-alike.

  • Doppelganger

Historically, it carried sinister undertones. In the U.S. at least, doppelganger is now used for any stranger who looks just like you. (An older brother is not your doppelganger, but could be your look-alike.)

  • Spitting image

Someone who looks just like someone else may be said to be the "spitting image" of that person. Especially common across generational divides. He is the spitting image of his grandfather.


To my understanding, the expression 'a halved pinang', in the Malay Language context actually means a couple that looks great together as they are both good-looking. We usually say this to newly married couples to celebrate and congratulate them. "Bagai pinang dibelah dua."

Hence, in this context I would say that the equivalent to the expression bagai pinang dibelah dua (A halved pinang) is a match made in heaven.


Perhaps in the future, we will speak figuratively of people as being "quantum entangled".

One can also speak generally of his/her/their "other half". I suppose it's the same phrase without the object of reference. However, it invokes a mutual dependence and partnership in life, rather than similar appearance.

  • 1
    "Quantum entangled" seems to suggest way more or something other than physical likeness.
    – Joachim
    Commented May 20, 2022 at 6:14
  • True, though I'm not sure the metaphorical connotation of quantum entanglement in the English language has been solidified yet Commented May 28, 2022 at 18:36

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