“Currying favor” with someone means trying to ingratiate oneself by fawning over that person: “The ambassador curried favor with the dictator by praising his construction projects.”
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Words nearby curry favor
Idioms and Phrases with curry favor
Seek gain or advancement by fawning or flattery, as in Edith was famous for currying favor with her teachers. This expression originally came from the Old French estriller fauvel, “curry the fallow horse,” a beast that in a 14th-century allegory stood for duplicity and cunning. It came into English about 1400 as curry favel—that is, curry (groom with a currycomb) the animal—and in the 1500s became the present term.