pay lip service to (something)

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pay lip service to (something)

To give an insincere verbal expression of something, especially friendship, loyalty, respect, support, etc. The local council members pay lip service each year to a renewed plan to tackle homelessness, but no one ever expects them to follow through.
See also: lip, pay, service

pay lip service to something

or

give lip service to something

COMMON If someone pays lip service or gives lip service to an idea, they say they are in favour of it, but do not do anything practical to support it. Nearly all Western manufacturers now pay lip service to these management techniques. Many chefs give lip service to the importance of fresh ingredients. Note: You can also just talk about lip service. All the talk about nation-building is pure lip service, because people who are selfish will never join with others to build the nation. Note: In this expression `service' means the same as respect. A contrast is being made here between what people say and what they really think, based on an idea expressed in various places in the Bible, including Matthew 15:8, `This people draweth nigh to me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me'.
See also: lip, pay, service, something

pay lip service to something

express approval of or support for something without taking any significant action.
1998 New Scientist Green organisations are having great difficulty maintaining their membership, and politicians pay lip service to environmental problems.
See also: lip, pay, service, something

pay ˈlip-service to something

if a person pays lip-service to something, they pretend to support or agree with something, without proving their support by what they actually do: He doesn’t really believe in equal opportunities. He just pays lip-service to it because he doesn’t want to appear old-fashioned.
See also: pay, something
References in periodicals archive ?
During the survey, citizens expressed serious reaction, saying that all political parties and social organizations merely paid lip service to the hardships of the working class.
A Government spokesperson said the Prime Minister has been at the vanguard of tax law reforms, however many more would say that he has only paid lip service to changes as he was aware of the enormity of the problem.
In the past chocolate manufacturers at least paid lip service to 'Easter' with a dutiful mention on the packaging of Milky Bar Buttons, Quality Street and KitKats.
The last Tory government launched the Investors in People in 1991 which many businesses paid lip service to until it became too demanding and they would not meet their obligations to the initiative.
In fact, Mat even paid lip service to his hunky co-star's paw before boarding, pausing to plant a smacker on his hand.
The Bush administration has paid lip service to human rights concerns in Chechnya and to the need for Russia to negotiate with moderate Chechens.
Professor Leonard further ponders whether the latest incarnation of white populists will be like earlier populists who paid lip service to anti-racism only to "secure political power on the back of black voters," or whether they "reflect a history of white intellectuals who have joined people of color in an effort to dream America anew." Now that's quite a dichotomy.
For years, the military has paid lip service to corporate management theories, outsourcing small amounts of work to the private sector, trying to focus units on their "core competencies," sending officers to seminars at the stock exchanges or other money-making enterprises.
The other candidates paid lip service to strengthening labor and environmental side agreements, but those won't get at the essence of these pacts, which is to elevate the untrammeled pursuit of profit over everything else.
Theoretically, I've always paid lip service to the futility of laying up treasure on this earth, all the while compiling a library of music and books that far outstrips what anyone could ever "need" in that regard.
"But Communism paid lip service to liberty, and pretended to achieve equality.
Had I paid lip service to legalising that drug when I was a student leader (or, better still, openly smoked a joint at a National Union of Students conference) friends of mine on both sides of the political fence will confirm to Mr Rogoff that I would almost certainly be a junior Minister today.
For decades, succeeding governments have paid lip service to the desirability of repairing damage done to native people -- damage that goes far, far beyond residential schools.
At the same time, most republican and socialist men paid lip service to feminism and hid behind anticlericalism to conceal their enduring attachment to the domestic ideal that dominated nineteenth-century France.
In 18 years the Tories failed to make parents and children a priority, though they paid lip service to family values.