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lip service

insincere expression of friendship, admiration, support, etc.; service by words only:
He paid only lip service to the dictator.
Origin of lip service
First recorded in 1635-45
Related forms
lip server, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lip service
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He wanted to know whether she felt that faith was a matter of lip service.

    The Goose Man Jacob Wassermann
  • But it was not in the Marshall nature to support a cause with lip service only.

  • That your professed love for me is only lip service, for you intend to desert me.

    In Strange Company Guy Boothby
  • lip service to Christian ethics was not good enough as an argument for this.

    Now It Can Be Told Philip Gibbs
  • Exalted sentiments were not to his credit when lip service made them detestable.

    The Higher Court Mary Stewart Daggett
British Dictionary definitions for lip service

lip service

insincere support or respect expressed but not put into practice
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lip service

"something proffered but not performed," 1640s, from lip (n.) + service (n.1). Earlier in same sense was lip-labour (1530s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lip service in Culture

lip service definition

Insincere agreement; to “pay lip service” is to consent in one's words while dissenting in one's heart: “The boss's support of affirmative action was merely paying lip service; he never committed himself to it in any substantial way.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for lip service

lip service


Insincere expression of friendship, admiration, agreement, support, etc: lip service for the volunteers

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with lip service

lip service

Verbal but insincere expression of agreement or support. It is often put aspay or give lip service, as in They paid lip service to holding an election next year, but they had no intention of doing so. [ Mid-1600s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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