I read about the phrase in the title and traced it back to the following article:


However, the Chinese isn't given. Is there a Chinese saying similar to this and, if so, can somebody provide the original Mandarin?

Thanks in advance.

++ The article states that this is a 'northeastern saying'.

  • I'm not asking for a translation; I'm asking if this is a phrase and if so what is the original. If it's not a known phrase then I don't need a translation. Maybe the question is slighltly misleading but the article (if you read it) suggests that this is a common local phrase, not just something that a person said. Hence I used the tag 'phrase'.
    – zhanmusi
    Oct 30, 2016 at 21:07
  • Also, the first sentence shows that I did prior research: "traced it back".
    – zhanmusi
    Oct 30, 2016 at 21:11
  • My apologies, it was flagged for review and I misunderstood the intent of the question.
    – going
    Oct 30, 2016 at 22:44
  • Thanks for changing the title; I had written the phrase only to be slightly provocative but you're right that it should be clear what the question is.
    – zhanmusi
    Oct 30, 2016 at 22:52

3 Answers 3


I believe it is a Cantonese term.

Traditionally, a man would call the husband of his wife's older sister 襟兄; and that 襟兄 would in term referring the man as 襟弟. They were 襟兄弟 (lapels brothers) or 老襟 (fellow lapels) to each other.

襟兄弟 originally describe the relationship of two men married a pair of sisters. Somehow, people began to use this term to refer to the relationship of different men married the same woman in different time.

To avoid confusion and being joked at, people stopped calling each other 襟兄 or 襟弟 and started calling each other 姊夫 (older sister's husband) or 妹夫 (younger sister's husband) instead.

Outsiders in occasions would still refer them as 襟兄弟, with the understanding of the term also has a second meaning that is derogatory.

Nowadays, calling the men who have sexual relationship, (married or not) with the same woman in different time (or worse, at the same time) as 襟兄弟 (lapels brothers) or 老襟 (fellow lapels) had became the main definition, while the original definition of describing the relationship between two brothers-in-law had became secondary.

a Chinese reference

a Cantonese reference

There's also a term 同靴 (in a same boot) or 靴兄弟 (boot brothers) refers to men who have sex with a same prostitute https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/62611723.html

旧时称同嫖一妓者。《官场现形记》第三二回:“幸喜他平日,也常到 钓鱼巷 走走,与 余荩臣 有同靴之谊。”

同靴之谊 means "relationship between fellow prostitute clients". It also means "relationship between two men who have sex with a same woman" nowadays.

  • Thanks for the very interesting background. I will wait a little before marking yours as the correct answer because it doesn't quite fit the description in the article (" a northeastern saying") and it may be that another person may know a set phrase from that region that fits the bill. On the otherhand, it may be that the phrase doesn't exist or is very rare (I asked some friends from Heilongjiang today and none had heard of such a phrase) so if nobody else gives a better answer I will then accept yours.
    – zhanmusi
    Oct 31, 2016 at 20:49

You can search to find this one: “所谓四大铁:一起同过窗,一起扛过枪,一起嫖过娼,一起分过赃.”, which means the so called four solid relations. "一起同过窗" means classmates especially for primary school, and the reason is the relation is built up gradually. "一起扛过枪" means army friends especially for attending the same wars, for which the reason is clear. "一起嫖过娼" means what you said "share the same woman (prostitute)" and "一起分过赃" means doing some bad thing together. The reasons for the latter two are same.

  • Very interesting addition! It's interesting that 'sharing the same woman' and 'doing some bad thing together' are separate. Am I correct in understanding that historically it was not considered immoral to visit prostitutes? (Some people might not think so now too but they would be aware that it is illegal and generally frowned upon publicly.)
    – zhanmusi
    Nov 2, 2016 at 1:19
  • "嫖娼" is mainly in the moral level and "分赃" is in the legal level. Historically, visiting prostitutes is still immoral although it is common even for upper-class people.
    – lxg
    Nov 2, 2016 at 2:34

穴兄弟 or 同道中人.

Basically they are not formal phrases meaning this but seen on the internet. 穴 means hole, cave. 道 means path, way. But here both imply vagina (屄 or 阴道).

They can both be applied to two of the three gay men in a similar case.

同道中人 is a 成语 and originally means people who share the same goal or hobby. But the great netizens have given it a new meaning.

  • Shouldn't 穴 - originally be 靴?
    – Mou某
    Oct 31, 2016 at 12:47
  • I'm not usually concerned with foul language but 穴兄弟 seems to me an extraordinarily vulgar phrase. +1 for that!
    – zhanmusi
    Nov 2, 2016 at 1:34
  • It would also be interesting to know which came first, 穴 or 靴? The 'boot' phrases seem to be more established (given the variety) and it could be that the 'hole' phrase was discovered through mistaken pinyin entry (given that you said it's an internet phrase). Still, the 'hole' phrase does make more sense to me; I can't really see why the 'boot' relates to sharing a prostitute.
    – zhanmusi
    Nov 2, 2016 at 1:38
  • @JamesH. I believe boot comes first. A loose woman is called 'broken shoe' (破鞋), which has several origins.
    – ElpieKay
    Nov 2, 2016 at 7:12

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