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insincere expression of friendship, admiration, support, etc.; service by words only:
He paid only lip service to the dictator.
insincere support or respect expressed but not put into practice

“something proffered but not performed,” 1640s, from lip (n.) + service (n.1). Earlier in same sense was lip-labour (1530s).

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.”


Insincere expression of friendship, admiration, agreement, support, etc: lip service for the volunteers
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 ]


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