to pay lip service

Idiom Definition

"to pay lip service"

to appear to agree with or support someone or something but to not really support, believe in or agree with it

Idiom Definition - to pay lip service


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - to pay lip service

Politicians who are trying to get elected always talk about how important the unemployment rate is.  They talk about how they will start programs to create jobs when they are elected to government.  When the politician is elected, we realize that they had only been paying lip service to the unemployment issue because they do not pursue any activities that will create jobs and the unemployment rate remains the same.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - to pay lip service

A husband and wife are talking about their finances ...

Husband:  I got the latest credit card bill.

Wife:  Oh, oh.

Husband:  Oh, oh, indeed!  I thought we talked about you reducing the amount of shopping you were going to do.  This month's credit card bill is even higher than last month's.  I guess you were only paying me lip service about reducing your spending?

Wife:  I tried to spend less but there were so many sales.  I just had to shop!

to pay lip service - Usage:


to pay lip service - Gerund Form:

Paying lip service is a common behavior of politicians.

to pay lip service - Examples:

1)  I pay lip service to cleaning my house.

2)  You pay lip service to recycling.

3)  He pays lip service to the idea of universal human rights.

4)  She pays lip service to agreeing to reduce her credit card shopping.

5)  Big business pays lip service to environmental responsibility.

6)  We pay lip service to being good sportsmen.

7)  You (all) pay lip service to obeying the speed limits.

8)  They pay lip service to issues of equality.

9) According to statements from China, they are willing to pay lip service to environmental concerns, but still plan to massively increase their coal production. 

10) Businesses can ill-afford to pay lip service to true service. 

11)  Democracy -- the kind of democracy to which we pay lip service, at least -- is based on a certain ideal of civic equality.

12)  I get the feeling that many social conservatives only pay lip service to smaller government.

13)  Israeli leaders might pay lip service to an independent Palestinian state but they won't allow a viable Palestinian state.

14) Once in a while they pay lip service to the debt, but generally it is placed on the back burner. 

15) A business can't just pay lip service to social media and expect it to return results. 

16)  As a nation we pay lip service to the idea that we're all created equal.

17)  Statesmen seem obliged to pay lip service at least to the idea of human rights.

18)  It's easy to pay lip service to "diversity," as long as it doesn't mean anything.

19)  The Superintendent can pay lip service to similar attributes, but he apparently can't hope to deliver.

20)  The Conservatives only pay lip service to democracy until it stops working for them.