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a member of a noble Persian family of Baghdad who, according to a tale in The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, gave a beggar a pretended feast with empty dishes.
Historical Examples

And here they sat around the green table, forlorn as the guests at a Barmecide feast.
The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 51, January, 1862 Various

But a banquet in which the plates only are good is but a Barmecide feast, after all.
The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 15, No. 87, January, 1865 Various

It knows too well how people stuff one with fine words, and will not let itself be satisfied with this Barmecide dish.
The Ego and His Own Max Stirner

My dear Barmecide friend, isn’t it pleasant to be in such fine company?
The Newcomes William Makepeace Thackeray

I fancy it will be a Barmecide feast, such as little Pope hits off in an unpublished lampoon upon certain kinsfolk of mine.
Mohawks, Volume 1 of 3 Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Barmecide, br′me-sīd, n. one who offers an imaginary or pretended banquet or other benefit.
Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 1 of 4: A-D) Various

To write without having the subject abundantly in mind is to invite the reader to a Barmecide feast of empty dishes.
Vocal Expression Katherine Jewell Everts

As they sat down at their Barmecide feast, how wretched the assemblage of unrivalled dainties seemed!
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Edward E. Hale

But he thought that he ought to do as he was bidden; and so, like the Barmecide, he made a pretense of washing.
Fifty Famous Stories Retold James Baldwin

You ought to be thankful for all that you’ve received, and not openly announce your preference for Barmecide feasts.
Six Girls and Bob Marion Ames Taggart

lavish or plentiful in imagination only; illusory; sham: a Barmecide feast


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