butter up(redirected from butter somebody up)
To be nice to someone, by flattery or other means, before delivering bad news or asking for a favor. I tried to butter up my father by mowing the lawn before I asked to borrow the car. At least butter me up before you ask for money.
butter someone upand butter up to someone
to flatter someone; to treat someone especially nicely in hopes of receiving special favors. (See also spread something on thick; soft soap.) A student tried to butter the teacher up. She buttered up the teacher again.
butter somebody upalso butter up somebody
to praise someone in order to get them to like you or do what you want The magazine tried to get her to write an article by buttering her up.
Excessively praise or flatter someone, usually to gain a favor. For example, If you butter up Dad, he'll let you borrow the car. This term transfers the oily, unctuous quality of butter to lavish praise. [c. 1700]
To praise or flatter someone in order to make him or her more receptive or willing: My coworker, hoping for a raise, is always buttering up the boss. If we butter up the bartender, maybe he'll buy us a drink.