Posted by Smokey Stover on April 11, 2007
In Reply to: Re: Flatter to deceive posted by ESC on April 10, 2007
: : What is rhe origin of 'flatter to deceive'? And what exactly does it mean - flatter whom to deceive whom?
: I would guess that the flatterer is deceiving the flatteree. Blowing smoke up his/her a**. Or pumping sunshine up his/her skirt. Like my husband bragging on my cooking to trick me into preparing all the meals.
Although I've made the usual superficial Internet search, I can't find an origin for this very poetic-sounding phrase. It would go very well, for instance, in a line like: 'When first they flatter to deceive.' I think the meaning is clear: if you flatter someone, they're more likely to be in a mood to believe you when you tell them a taradiddle. However, the vast majority of citations brought up by Google do not seem to be based on this meaning.