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mutual admiration society

A relationship in which two people have strong feelings of esteem for each other and often exchange lavish compliments. The term may signify either genuine or pretended admiration, as in Each of them praised the other's book—it was a real mutual admiration society. The expression was invented by Henry David Thoreau in his journal (1851) and repeated by Oliver Wendell Holmes and others.

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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.