pay lip service to something
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
pay lip service to somethingor
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'.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
pay lip service to somethingexpress 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.
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