damn someone or something with faint praise

damn (someone or something) with faint praise

To criticize or undermine someone or something by showing a lack of enthusiasm. I needed you to support me in there! The committee probably won't approve of my research project now that you've damned it with faint praise.
See also: damn, faint, praise

damn someone or something with faint praise

praise someone or something so unenthusiastically as to imply condemnation.
This expression comes from the poet Alexander Pope's ‘Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot’ ( 1735 ): ‘Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer’.
1994 Canadian Defence Quarterly True there is the occasional condescending nod to those who served, but this frequently amounts to damning with faint praise.