to butter up

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - butter up

"to butter up"

to excessively praise or flatter someone in hopes of receiving a favor


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - butter up

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  Do you suppose that promotions are awarded on merit?

Colleague 2:  In my experience, no. It seems like the best way to get a promotion is by buttering up the boss.

Colleague 1:  For example?

Colleague 2:  Always compliment the boss on her wardrobe. Never miss an opportunity to tell her how much you appreciate her efforts. Be careful to praise her for her hard work and dedication.

Colleague 1:  In other words, be a brown-noser.

Colleague 2:  Exactly.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - butter up

A couple are talking ...

Husband:  You look really pretty today.

Wife:  Thanks.

Husband:  And have I told you lately how impressed I am with all that you do?

Wife:  What do you want?

Husband:  What do you mean?

Wife:  You are buttering me up for some reason. You never give compliments without an ulterior motive.

Husband: I was really hoping that you could pick up the kids from school today. A group of the guys are going out for drinks after work and I would really like to join them.

to butter up - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   266   click for frequency by country

to butter up - Gerund Form:

Buttering up the boss in order to get an extra day off is not uncommon.

to butter up - Examples:

1)  ... but he knows which companies he'll need to butter up (or alternatively, intimidate) to get what his national-security team is looking ...

2)  She wants to use aid to leverage post-Brexit trade deals and butter up potential allies in the World Trade Organization.

3)  ... has been around the block, and knows which favours would butter up the exam authorities.

4)  ... but bickering has off put many.. she cant play nice or butter up anyone if her life was on line.

5)  George also wants to butter up higher rate earners with a rise in their 40 per cent threshold.

6)  It's about who you are loyal to, who you butter up and who patronises you.

7)  Being introverted, this harmless artificial boost gave me the courage to schmooze and butter up helpful people when I went out.

8)  ... most desperate for promotion, or fearing the sack, will be doing anything to butter up the Prime Minister. 

9)  Press the flesh, put on a human face, butter up the shareholders with a few words.

10)  As a young barrister he had a reputation for refusing to butter up solicitors in the competitive scramble for legal work.

11)  ... receiving sweetheart deals from foreign government entities like the Bank of China in hopes of buttering up Trump for more favorable treatment from the White House.

12)  ... is buttering up prison authorities in a bid to finally secure parole.

13)  Its members should each only ever be elected once, so they are not constantly buttering up their voters seeking to get re-elected. 

14)  ... began her Sunday press conference by buttering up hungry reporters with chocolates before outlining her policy priorities for ...

15)  He gave me the whole nice treatment or buttering up at first.

16)  ... she has also exhibited acts of "buttering up" to a religious group to get their votes.

17)  We could stop having opinions and start buttering up people who seem to want to pay for sponsored posts that say how amazing ...

18)  ... also looks to be buttering up voters with policy promises.

19)  I make schmoozing look easy, but it ain't. Buttering up people you want something out of is an art form.

20)  But the journalist didn't need buttering up. She was happy as a clam.