Here's a list of chantable couplets. The closest technical name to describe them, is “prototypical usage”.
- nature or nurture → often used in evolutionary biology contexts about human traits
- fight or flight → often used as a dilemma of action when facing a threat, especially in evolutionary psychology contexts.
- friend or foe → used to express the concept that a person is either a ally or enemy.
- art or science → e.g. is programing art or science?
- publish or perish → you either publish or perish. (often used in academia context)
- divide and conquer → particularly used to describe a type of algorithm in computer science.
- nook and cranny → e.g. i want every nook and cranny searched
- cease and desist → often used by lawers as a warning towards stopping something
- tear and wear → e.g. the tear and wear of the muscle tendons…
- leaps and bounds → e.g. progress has gone leaps and bounds
- peaches and cream → idiom for all nice and smooth. e.g. it's not all peaches and cream.
- live and let live → used as a benign advice for not to persecute. It is used for example in the dialog of the movie Cabaret (1972).
- trials and tribulations → hardships
- wiles and strategems → crafty tricks
- huffing and puffing →
- admission and remission →
Sir Richard Burton's Arabian Nights
The following are from Sir Richard Burton's Arabian Nights.
- lief or loath → I cried out with an exceeding loud and bitter cry and beat my face and rent my raiment and said: “Verily we be Allah's and unto Him we be returning, O Moslems! O folk fain of Allah! There remained for this youth but one day of the forty dangerous days which the astrologers and the learned had foretold for him, and the predestined death of this beautiful one was to be at my hand. Would Heaven I had not tried to cut the watermelon! What dire misfortune is this I must bear, lief or loath? What a disaster! What an affliction! O Allah mine, I implore thy pardon and declare to Thee my innocence of his death. But what God willeth, let that come to pass.”
- cark and care → Why do I see thee thus changed and laden with cark and care?
- conversing and carousing
- toil and moil → “O King of the Time and Caliph of the Tide, only toil and moil have tinged my face yellow with bile and hath made my eyes sink deep in my head.”
- talk and tattle
- persuading and dissuading
- delectable and delightsome → ‘O my sister, an thou be not sleepy, relate to me some new story, delectable and delightsome, the better to speed our waking hours.’
- weal and woe
- gifts and largess → what while the drums beat and the flutes and pipes sounded and mimes and mountebanks played and plied their arts and the King lavished on them gifts and largess,
- satin and silk
- donning and doffing
- regret and repine → So he put away his melancholy and despondency, regret and repine, and allayed his sorrow by constantly repeating those words, adding, “'Tis my conviction that no man in this world is safe from their malice!”
- bane and blight → Shall ne'er be free of bane and blight.
- prate and prattle
- liberality and generosity
- betwixt and between
- by hook or by crook
- liege and lief
- parry and thrust?
- surety and bond
- bubble and squeak?
- let and hindrance?
- might and main → main means physical strength. Both word means the same thing, and together they mean the same thing.
- metes and bounds → mete means boundary line. Metes and Bounds is used often in legal texts of deeds. Metes and bounds is a old fashioned way of measuring land.
The following are more like idioms.
- time and tide wait for no man → Time does not stop for someone.
- better or worth → usually used as in “[something something]… for better or worse.”, meaning regardless of some evaluation or aspect of the subject matter.”. Akin to “anyway.”.
- thick and thin → e.g. “thru thick and think” meaning thru good times as well as bad times. Thick meaning rich, thin meaning poverty.
The following are supplied by Troy Steadman (from alt.english.usage)
- but and ben → just over the threshold and deeply into a house.
- froth and lime → (Shakespeare) dilute and adulterate drinks.
- dog and bone → phone (Cockney rhyming slang in general UK usage).
- wild and woolly → mammoth-like
- back and forth → as a swing
- hither and thither → ditto
- overs and unders → variation from anticipated
- bag and baggage → luggage
- duck and dive → survive by doing whatever needs to be done
- banks and braes → grassy tussocks and hills
Thanks to Troy Steadman and Pat Durkin for contribution.
If you know anymore, please write to me. Criterion: it must be two words connected by And or Or, and in a way recognizable almost as a idiom.
The 2 words often have similar meaning, used together more for its chantable quality. (e.g. cease and desist, tear and wear, wiles and strategems) Or, the 2 words often are opposites, used to denote a situation that's one or the other, often uncritically. (e.g. nature or nurture, fight or flight, art or science, publish or perish)
See also: Chantable phraseology (essay)