Barmecide


Also found in: Idioms.
Related to Barmecide: Barmecide Feast

Bar·me·cid·al

 (bär′mĭ-sīd′l) also Bar·me·cide (bär′mĭ-sīd′)
adj.
Plentiful or abundant in appearance only; illusory: a Barmecidal feast.

[After Barmecide, , a nobleman in The Arabian Nights, who served an imaginary feast to a beggar.]

Barmecide

(ˈbɑːmɪˌsaɪd) or

Barmecidal

adj
lavish or plentiful in imagination only; illusory; sham: a Barmecide feast.
[C18: from the name of a prince in The Arabian Nights who served empty plates to beggars, alleging that they held sumptuous food]
References in classic literature ?
That night, on going to bed, I forgot to prepare in imagination the Barmecide supper of hot roast potatoes, or white bread and new milk, with which I was wont to amuse my inward cravings: I feasted instead on the spectacle of ideal drawings, which I saw in the dark; all the work of my own hands: freely pencilled houses and trees, picturesque rocks and ruins, Cuyp-like groups of cattle, sweet paintings of butterflies hovering over unblown roses, of birds picking at ripe cherries, of wren's nests enclosing pearl-like eggs, wreathed about with young ivy sprays.
Your lighter boxes of family papers went up-stairs into a Barmecide room, that always had a great dining-table in it and never had a dinner, and where, even in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty, the first letters written to you by your old love, or by your little children, were but newly released from the horror of being ogled through the windows, by the heads exposed on Temple Bar with an insensate brutality and ferocity worthy of Abyssinia or Ashantee.
My brother thanked them for their courtesy and entered the building, which was so large that it took him some time to reach the apartments of the Barmecide.
Before he could proceed further, he was stopped by the astonishment shown by the Barmecide.
To the admirers of cities it is a Barmecide Feast: a pleasant field for the imagination to rove in; a monument raised to a deceased project, with not even a legible inscription to record its departed greatness.