Cystic fibrosis (CF) typically follows a more severe clinical course than non-CF bronchiectasis. Despite this recognized difference, the underpinnings of respiratory biology support a common pathogeneses of the anatomic deformations of bronchiectasis. This article reviews the observed manifestations among the related diseases of bronchiectasis and CF and discusses some of their similarities and differences. As more details of the mechanisms of bronchiectasis are unveiled, more parallels among the seemingly disparate causes of CF and non-CF bronchiectasis are recognized. With these insights, more opportunities to halt the vicious circle have become apparent.