butter someone up

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Definition of butter someone up

To praise or flatter someone excessively: “Percy was always buttering up the boss, so he was surprised when he failed to get a promotion.”

Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
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Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


What does butter someone up mean?

To butter someone up means to praise or compliment someone to excess, as in Mark tried to butter his math teacher up in the hopes it would help his grade. 

You can also keep butter and up together in a sentence, as in I think Haley is trying to butter up her dad so that he’ll drive us to the airport tomorrow morning. 

Butter someone up is often used to indicate that a person is flattering someone because they have something to gain and they don’t actually mean what they are saying.

Example: Lisa buttered up her dad so he wouldn’t be mad when he found out she broke the window. 

Where does butter someone up come from?

The first records of the phrase butter someone up come from around 1700, although it was originally used without the word up. The source of this phrase is unknown.

How is butter related to flattery? We don’t know. We can imagine that giving someone a lot of praise is figuratively similar to spreading a lot of butter on a slice of bread to make the bread tasty, but there’s no evidence that this is where butter someone up comes from.

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What are some synonyms for butter someone up?

What are some words that share a root or word element with butter someone up

What are some words that often get used in discussing butter someone up?

How is butter someone up used in real life?

Butter someone up is used to mean someone is lavishing praise on another person in the hopes of getting something out of it.

Try using butter someone up!

Which of the following words is a synonym of butter someone up?

A. insult
B. flatter
C. trick
D. befriend

How to use butter someone up in a sentence