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do as I say

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Obey my instructions, as in Never mind about the other mothers—you do as I say. This admonitory order is sometimes followed by a self-deprecating phrase, Do as I say, not as I do, meaning “don't imitate my behavior but obey my instructions.” This order first appeared in John Selden's Table-Talk (c. 1654): “Preachers say, 'Do as I say, not as I do.'”

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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