pay lip service

pay lip service


  • to agree by word of mouth only
  • verbally support something
  • saying you are in favour but do nothing else
  • insincere declaration of support, affection, or devotion

Example Sentences

  1. He paid lip service to the cause, but he hasn’t lent a hand yet.
  2. There is a rise in people only paying lip service to the leaders.
  3. My friend goes to church every Sunday, pays lip service to her God, and then behaves terribly for the rest of the week.
  4. We are sick of politicians who do nothing but pay lip service to the important issues in the country.
  5. They paid lip service to healthy ingredients, but most school dinners were mass-produced.


This is a phrase meaning that someone agrees or expresses loyalty to something verbally but is insincere and does not support it physically.  They say they are in favour of an idea or plan but do nothing to prove it.

There are references in the bible to ‘honouring God and Jesus only with one’s lips’ (Isaiah 29:3, Matthew 15:8) Also in the 1644 Directory for the Publique Worship Throughout the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, the reference ‘ Pleasing themselves in their lip service in bearing a part in it.


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Idiom of the Day

put your foot in it

Meaning: say something (by mistake) that upsets, humiliates, or embarrasses someone

Example: Carla put her foot right in it when she congratulated her neighbour on being pregnant. It turns out she's not expecting but had just put on weight. Read on


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