lip service

See more synonyms for lip service on
  1. 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 formslip server, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for lip service

duplicity, hypocrisy, insincerity, lie, sham, jive, mouthing, tokenism

Examples from the Web for lip service

Contemporary Examples of lip service

  • Johnson called it “not much more than lip-service to his pledge to begin withdrawing by this summer.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    The New Antiwar Republicans

    Jill Lawrence

    July 1, 2011

Historical Examples of lip service

  • There is no lack of lip-service to the sea-creed in these islands.

  • Vain will be your lip-service; vain your cold, heartless offerings.

    Bible Emblems

    Edward E. Seelye

  • Yet there was a distinguishing, cordial charm in his courtesy; it was not all lip-service.


    Clement Wood

  • They may render it lip-service, but that is quite another thing.

    The New Machiavelli

    Herbert George Wells

  • All my service of God there was lip-service: why did I, having the opportunity of living in greater perfection, neglect it?

British Dictionary definitions for lip service

lip service

  1. 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

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

lip service in Culture

lip service

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with lip service

lip service

Verbal but insincere expression of agreement or support. It is often put as pay 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.