curry favor(redirected from currying favor)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
Related to currying favor: currying favour
To ingratiate oneself to someone Flattery won't work; the only way of currying favor with him is through hard work.
Seek gain or advancement by fawning or flattery, as in Edith was famous for currying favor with her teachers. This expression originally came from the Old French estriller fauvel, "curry the fallow horse," a beast that in a 14th-century allegory stood for duplicity and cunning. It came into English about 1400 as curry favel-that is, curry (groom with a currycomb) the animal-and in the 1500s became the present term.
curry favouringratiate yourself with someone through obsequious behaviour.
Curry here means ‘groom a horse or other animal’ with a coarse brush or comb. The phrase is an early 16th-century alteration of the Middle English curry favel , Favel (or Fauvel ) being the name of a chestnut horse in an early 14th-century French romance who epitomized cunning and duplicity. From this ‘to groom Favel’ came to mean to use on him the cunning which he personified. It is unclear whether the bad reputation of chestnut horses existed before the French romance, but the idea is also found in 15th-century German in the phrase den fahlen hengst reiten (ride the chestnut horse) meaning ‘behave deceitfully’.
curry ˈfavour (with somebody)(British English) (American English curry ˈfavor (with somebody)) (disapproving) try to get somebody to like or support you by praising or helping them a lot: They have lowered taxes in an attempt to curry favour with the voters. Curry in this phrase means to groom (= clean and comb) a horse. The phrase was originally ‘curry favel’ (= a light brown horse that was thought to be clever and dishonest) and came to mean to try to please somebody who might be useful to you, especially by doing or saying things that you do not mean or believe.
To seek or gain favor by fawning or flattery.
curry favor, to
To flatter insincerely in order to get ahead. The term, which has been known since the sixteenth century, comes from a fourteenth-century satirical romance about a horse named Fauvel. This horse was a symbol of cunning bestiality, and to curry (groom) it meant that one was enlisting its services of duplicity and other nasty traits. The English version of Fauvel at first was favel, which by the sixteenth century had been corrupted into “favor.”
See also: curry
To ingratiate oneself through flattery or a willingness to please. “Curry” has nothing to do with the spice—it means to groom, as in the horse-keeping currycomb tool. One of the definitions of “stroke” is “suck up to,” and the image is similar—to get on a person's good side, whether or not flattery is warranted. “Favor” was originally “Fauvel,” the donkey who was the rogue hero of a 14th-century French romance. The image of grooming the beast to get on its good side or to win its favor is now the modern use of the word in the phrase.