Meaning of mutual in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmjuːtʃʊəl/ /ˈmjuːtʃ(ə)l/


  • 1(of a feeling or action) experienced or done by each of two or more parties towards the other or others.

    ‘a partnership based on mutual respect and understanding’
    ‘my father hated him from the start and the feeling was mutual’
    ‘his contract with City has been terminated by mutual consent’
    • ‘‘We met around town in Detroit and just had a mutual admiration and respect, then just sort of gravitated toward one another,’ says Benson.’
    • ‘But this has not affected the mutual love and respect he and his children feel for one another.’
    • ‘Dara seemed to have mutual feelings toward it since she whipped out her newly charged cell phone and began punching in numbers.’
    • ‘It had just been Joy and Mark - two people united by mutual feelings of respect and, as much as Joy hated to admit it, love.’
    • ‘The fans love him and the feeling is mutual.’
    • ‘Slowly but surely, each earns the respect of the other, and out of that respect grows a mutual appreciation, trust, and inevitably, familial love.’
    • ‘What makes a family is not necessarily the proper gender variety in the household but the committed mutual love and respect of individuals.’
    • ‘In our time of separation, I believe there grew a mutual love & respect which had been missing before.’
    • ‘As a director, he carefully chooses those that work with him, and seeks an atmosphere of mutual loyalty and respect.’
    • ‘The length of time spent together and their mutual love and respect has meant that the three boys regarded themselves as brothers.’
    • ‘If you worked hard he appreciated you and that feeling was mutual between us.’
    • ‘If the feeling is mutual, the system will alert both parties.’
    • ‘A family is not a business; it is a home that should be run out of mutual love and respect.’
    • ‘And, here, far away from the partisan capital, the warm feelings are mutual.’
    • ‘Many of them despise him, and the feeling is mutual.’
    • ‘Sorry to tell you this, Meg, but I'm sure the feeling was mutual.’
    • ‘Where hostility and mutual contempt have replaced love and respect, it is in no one's best interests to prolong the agony.’
    • ‘She hugged me and told me she missed me - the feeling was certainly mutual.’
    • ‘She took an instant dislike to Mary and the feeling was largely mutual.’
    • ‘But it seems the feeling was mutual, so that's fine.’
    reciprocal, reciprocated, requited, returned, give-and-take, interchangeable, interactive, complementary, correlative
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of two or more people) having the same specified relationship to each other.
      ‘they cooperated as potentially mutual beneficiaries of the settlement’
      • ‘They were mutual admirers of each other's work and had wanted to record together for some time.’
      reciprocal, reciprocated, requited, returned, give-and-take, interchangeable, interactive, complementary, correlative
      View synonyms
  • 2Held in common by two or more parties.

    ‘we were introduced by a mutual friend’
    • ‘Men preferred friends with mutual acquaintances and common interests, while women valued laughter, honesty and trust.’
    • ‘But we had mutual friends in common, and the most significant one was this chap, James Coldhurst.’
    • ‘He waived the hourly fee after discovering a mutual common interest in the gym.’
    • ‘The ties between the United States and Japan are friendly and close because we share common values, mutual interests and joint faith in democracy.’
    • ‘Discussions included topics of mutual and continuing interest common to both countries.’
    • ‘It goes beyond the age, gender, location formula to match individuals based on mutual friends and similar interests.’
    • ‘‘I met Andy Coe (bass player) at a party thrown by a mutual friend,’ said Pete.’
    • ‘I saw the now 7-year-old Brandon for the first time in a while at a mutual friend's Christmas party.’
    • ‘Dave and Killian met at a mutual friend's birthday party.’
    • ‘But one of our mutual friends had returned from a vacation and he had specially requested my participation.’
    • ‘They met at a mutual friend's party almost six years ago.’
    • ‘They had met at a mutual friend's party a while ago.’
    • ‘Girls with more than one mutual friend completed the questionnaire on the most stable or highest ranked friend.’
    • ‘Lately, the situation has worsened, as a mutual friend has returned to town.’
    • ‘We met two months ago, at the birthday party of a mutual friend.’
    • ‘The authors acknowledge the need for such projects to be based on mutual goals that address common problems of the local institution.’
    • ‘As an illustration of the difference between common and mutual knowledge suppose that you and I are each dealt a card.’
    • ‘At any rate, it turned out that he and I had some mutual friends who were throwing a Halloween party.’
    • ‘Christian social thinkers have stated that solidarity involves mutual interests, common approaches and an altruistic sense of duty and compassion.’
    • ‘I know that they were introduced by mutual friends.’
    1. 2.1Denoting a building society or insurance company owned by its members and dividing some or all of its profits between them.
      ‘Scottish Amicable may switch from mutual to plc status’
      ‘the world's oldest mutual insurance company’
      • ‘Deep in Glasgow's business district, nearly all the grand former building societies, mutual associations and insurance offices have been transformed into eateries and drinkeries.’
      • ‘Furthermore, several building societies and mutual life assurance companies have converted to listed companies over the past fifteen years, providing windfall shares to their members.’
      • ‘In previous years, building societies and mutual companies (those without shareholders) usually dominated these annual surveys of the cheapest lenders.’
      • ‘In an effort to remain mutual, many building societies forced new account owners to waive their rights to any forthcoming windfall shares.’
      • ‘The former mutual building society has seen its shares rise by 42 per cent since this time last year.’
      • ‘Many building societies have thrown off their mutual status, offering their members shares or a lump sum bonus in return.’
      • ‘Trust chiefs say the proposals would see the trust being owned and run by local members, comparing the move with the way mutual building societies are run.’
      • ‘In addition, it is a mutual company and profits, if realised from its other businesses, are paid into the with-profits fund.’
      • ‘Members of mutual companies that have gone public in recent times have in some cases reaped significant financial benefits.’
      • ‘The plan would see the trust being owned and run by local members, in a similar way to mutual building societies.’
      • ‘New legislation that will allow the company to demutualise (change its status from a mutual society that is owned by its members) is expected to be passed by year-end.’
      • ‘Members of the local community would ‘own’ the hospitals in the same way as mutual building societies are run.’
      • ‘This mutual building society offers a very limited unit trust range on the grounds that its members generally need little else.’
      • ‘When every mutual and pension fund in the land owns a chunk of a particular stock, it may have nowhere to go but down.’
      • ‘Beyond these two, there are still a number of smaller mutual building societies, but it is unlikely they will demutualise.’
      • ‘The company has already dismissed two earlier challenges to its mutual status, from a Monaco-based fund manager in 2000 and a retired lecturer, David Stonebanks, last year.’
      • ‘Mr Goodfellow re-emphasised the Skipton's commitment to remaining a mutual building society.’
      • ‘Now his finance days are behind him as he leads one of Scotland's remaining mutual building societies.’
      • ‘First, there are the building societies that have converted from mutual associations to public limited companies and have become banks.’
      • ‘They are mutual societies owned and controlled by their members, who must share a common bond.’


  • A mutual building society or insurance company.

    ‘life insurance firms are mutuals, owned by their policyholders’
    • ‘There are disturbing parallels here with the insurance mutuals, building societies and friendly societies that have already demutualised or are actively contemplating demutualisation.’
    • ‘A spokesman said: ‘We are happy to compete with other banks, mutuals and building societies and indeed we do just that.’’
    • ‘Britain's financial mutuals, including Standard Life, Nationwide and the Equitable are heading towards stormy annual meetings as members line up to launch attacks on the boards and managements.’
    • ‘Just as there have always been good companies and bad companies, there have been good mutuals and bad mutuals.’
    • ‘It wasn't the mutuals who were energetic at selling pensions and policies inappropriately.’
    • ‘Most of Scotland's great mutuals have had to be dragged kicking and screaming towards demutualisation; as a result, they have invariably lost everything.’
    • ‘Between them, the former mutuals are holding either shares or cash bonuses which have still to be claimed by more than 500,000 former members.’
    • ‘It believes, as Britain's biggest building society, that it must consistently demonstrate that mutuals are cheaper than plcs.’
    • ‘If they had remained as mutuals they could have used their capital to reduce their home loan rates and push the banks out of the mortgage business.’
    • ‘That's one reason why mutuals have done better and ought to do better in the future.’
    • ‘‘Over the period we have created a much stronger case for mutuals than previously existed,’ said Mr Anderson.’
    • ‘So I was already wondering, as this is one of the UK's very last mutuals, whether the time is right for me to break with convention and vote.’
    • ‘The problem is several mutuals haven't been particularly well-run.’
    • ‘Nor would they rule out mutuals - indeed anything where the freedom to manage is kept at a local level and autonomous from the state.’
    • ‘I don't know where he gets his figures from, but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see that mutuals are strapped for cash right now.’
    • ‘The constant assault which people attempting to run mutuals are under is a very serious matter.’
    • ‘Therefore, we don't need access to the capital market, a motivation that has driven some other mutuals to become stock companies.’
    • ‘State government savings and agricultural banks joined with mutuals to complement private sector priorities.’
    • ‘Obviously our membership structure is different to most other mutuals which means we can't pay out the windfall in cash.’
    • ‘Where mutuals are concerned members have a great deal of power to play with.’


Some traditionalists consider using mutual to mean ‘common to two or more people’ (a mutual friend; a mutual interest) to be incorrect, holding that a sense of reciprocity is necessary (mutual respect; mutual need). The use they object to has a long and respectable history, however, being first recorded in Shakespeare and appearing in the writing of Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot, and, most famously, as the title of Dickens's novel Our Mutual Friend. It is now generally accepted as part of standard English


Late 15th century from Old French mutuel, from Latin mutuus ‘mutual, borrowed’; related to mutare ‘to change’.



/ˈmjuːtʃʊəl/ /ˈmjuːtʃ(ə)l/