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n. pl. flat·ter·ies
1. The act or practice of flattering.
2. Excessive or insincere praise.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -teries
1. the act of flattering
2. excessive or insincere praise
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈflæt ə ri)

n., pl. -ter•ies.
1. the act of flattering.
2. excessive or insincere praise.
[1275–1325; Middle English flaterie < Middle French]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.




  1. As a wolf is like a dog, so is a flatterer like a friend —Thomas Fuller
  2. Bang compliments backwards and forwards, like two asses scrubbing one another —Jonathan Swift
  3. Bask in it [flattery] like a sunflower —Tennessee Williams
  4. A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil —Victor Hugo
  5. Compliments are like perfume, to be inhaled, not swallowed —Charles Clark Munn
  6. Fawn like dogs —Percy Bysshe Shelley
  7. Flattered me like a dog —William Shakespeare

    Shakespeare’s simile from King Lear continues with, “And told me I had white hairs in my beard ‘ere the black ones were there.”

  8. Flatterers, like cats, lick and then scratch —German proverb
  9. Flatterers look like friends, as wolves like dogs —George Chapman
  10. Flattering as a testimonial dinner —Anon
  11. Flattery is like a cigarette; it is all right if you don’t inhale —Adlai Stevenson
  12. Flattery … is like a qualmish liqueur in the midst of a bottle of wine —Benjamin Disraeli
  13. Flattery is like champagne, it soon gets into the head —William Brown
  14. Flattery is like cologne water, to be smelt of, not swallowed —Josh Billings Paraphrased from Billings’

    phonetic dialect which reads: “Flattery is like Kolone water, tew be smelt of, not swallowed.”

  15. Flattery is like friendship in show, but not in fruit —Socrates
  16. Flattery is like wine, which exhilarates a man for a moment, but usually ends up going to his head and making him act foolish —Helen Rowland
  17. (Twilight was) kind as candlelight to a bad face lift —Paige Mitchell
  18. An overdose of praise is like ten lumps of sugar in coffee; only a very few people can swallow it —Emily Post
  19. Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity —Samuel Johnson
  20. Some folks pay a compliment like they went down in their pocket for it —Kin Hubbard
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.




applesauce See NONSENSE.

blarney Flattery, soft soap, cajolery. The expression comes from the Blarney Stone located high in the wall of Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland. Legend has it that an Irish commander of the castle by his cleverly evasive communiqués successfully duped an English commander demanding its surrender. A similar gift of forked or honeyed speech is thus said to come to whoever kisses the stone. The verb usage of blarney dates from 1803; the noun usage from shortly thereafter.

court holy water Flattery, hollow promises, fair but empty words; also court-water and court-element. The French equivalent phrase is eau bénite de la cour. According to Le Roux’s Dictionnaire Comique, unfounded promises or empty compliments were called court holy water because there was no lack of fair promises in court, just as there is no lack of holy water in church. This obsolete proverbial expression dates from 1583.

flannelmouth A smooth talker; a silver-tongued devil; a flatterer or braggart; a person who talks incessantly and says nothing; one who mumbles or speaks with a thick accent. In this expression, flannel, a smooth, soft fabric, refers to a person’s manner of speech: it may be smooth and soft like flannel, or it may be mumbled and confusing, as though the speaker had a mouthful of flannel.

lay it on To flatter or criticize excessively; to act or speak in an exaggerated manner. This expression alludes to the manual-labor trades such as masonry and painting where one might add more and more mortar, paint, etc., in an attempt to produce a superior product when, in actuality, a small amount would be just as, if not more, effective. As a result of such excessiveness, the final product is often messy and of questionable value. The figurative implications are obvious. Related expressions include lay it on thick, lay it on with a shovel, and lay it on with a trowel.

Well said; that was laid on with a trowel. (Shakespeare, As You Like It, I, ii)

soft-soap To wheedle or cajole; to win over or persuade by means of flattery; to butter someone up for ulterior motives. In use since the early 18th century, the verb and corresponding noun are thought to derive from soft soap, the semiliquid soap whose oiliness might well be linked with unctuous-ness.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.flattery - excessive or insincere praiseflattery - excessive or insincere praise  
compliment - a remark (or act) expressing praise and admiration
adulation - servile flattery; exaggerated and hypocritical praise
blandishment, cajolery, palaver - flattery intended to persuade
blarney, coaxing, soft soap, sweet talk - flattery designed to gain favor
puffery - a flattering commendation (especially when used for promotional purposes)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


noun obsequiousness, fawning, adulation, sweet-talk (informal), flannel (Brit. informal), blarney, soft-soap (informal), sycophancy, servility, cajolery, blandishment, fulsomeness, toadyism, false praise, honeyed words He is ambitious and susceptible to flattery.
"I suppose flattery hurts no one, that is, if he doesn't inhale" [Adlai Stevenson]
"Everyone likes flattery; and when you come to Royalty you should lay it on with a trowel" [Benjamin Disraeli]
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


Excessive, ingratiating praise:
Informal: soft soap.
Idiom: honeyed words.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
تَمَلُّق، تَزَلُّف


[ˈflætərɪ] Nhalagos mpl, lisonjas fpl
it wasn't just flattery, I meant what I saidno eran simplemente halagos or lisonjas, lo decía en serio
flattery will get you nowhere! (iro) → ¡con halagos or lisonjas no vas a conseguir nada!
flattery will get you everywhere! (iro) → ¡con halagos or lisonjas se consigue todo!
see also imitation
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈflætəri] nflatterie f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


n (= compliments)Schmeicheleien pl; flattery will get you nowheremit Schmeicheln kommst du nicht weiter
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈflætərɪ] nadulazione f, lusinghe fpl
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈflӕtə) verb
1. to praise too much or insincerely. Flatter him by complimenting him on his singing.
2. to show, describe etc someone or something as being better than someone etc really is. The photograph flatters him.
3. to be pleased to say about (oneself) (that one can do something). I flatter myself that I can speak French perfectly.
ˈflatterer noun
ˈflattery noun
insincere praise.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
It is not criticism, but flattery that she wants; and I gush over them with what I feel to myself to be degrading effusiveness.
Nothing in the world is harder than speaking the truth and nothing easier than flattery. If there's the hundredth part of a false note in speaking the truth, it leads to a discord, and that leads to trouble.
In short, Sancho, I would have thee tell me all that has come to thine ears on this subject; and thou art to tell me, without adding anything to the good or taking away anything from the bad; for it is the duty of loyal vassals to tell the truth to their lords just as it is and in its proper shape, not allowing flattery to add to it or any idle deference to lessen it.
Then quoth the King, "If I might catch False and Flattery or any of their masters, I would avenge me on the wretches that work so ill, and would hang them by the neck and all that them abet."
He continued friends with fallen ministers and made himself their intermediary with their successors, diffusing thus the perfume of the last flattery and the first compliment.
- It was but man, I thought, who shed Laurels upon me: and the rush - The torrent of the chilly air Gurgled within my ear the crush Of empires - with the captive's prayer - The hum of suiters - and the tone Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne.
Riches gotten by service, though it be of the best rise, yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humors, and other servile conditions, they may be placed amongst the worst.
Moreover, Speranski, either because he appreciated the other's capacity or because he considered it necessary to win him to his side, showed off his dispassionate calm reasonableness before Prince Andrew and flattered him with that subtle flattery which goes hand in hand with self-assurance and consists in a tacit assumption that one's companion is the only man besides oneself capable of understanding the folly of the rest of mankind and the reasonableness and profundity of one's own ideas.
She knows her power, and she uses it too; but well knowing that to wheedle and coax is safer than to command, she judiciously tempers her despotism with flattery and blandishments enough to make him deem himself a favoured and a happy man.
It is no wonder that in an age when this kind of merit is so little in fashion, and so slenderly provided for, persons possessed of it should very eagerly flock to a place where they were sure of being received with great complaisance; indeed, where they might enjoy almost the same advantages of a liberal fortune as if they were entitled to it in their own right; for Mr Allworthy was not one of those generous persons who are ready most bountifully to bestow meat, drink, and lodging on men of wit and learning, for which they expect no other return but entertainment, instruction, flattery, and subserviency; in a word, that such persons should be enrolled in the number of domestics, without wearing their master's cloathes, or receiving wages.
Lady Middleton was ashamed of doing nothing before them, and the flattery which Lucy was proud to think of and administer at other times, she feared they would despise her for offering.
From what I now saw of her, and what I heard from the children, I know that, in order to gain her cordial friendship, I had but to utter a word of flattery at each convenient opportunity: but this was against my principles; and for lack of this, the capricious old dame soon deprived me of her favour again, and I believe did me much secret injury.