phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Rubber stamp

Posted by Smokey Stover on November 29, 2007

In Reply to: Rubber stamp posted by Sheila on November 29, 2007

: What does the phrase 'rubber stamp' mean? In a sentence: "Don't be a rubber stamp."

Since about 1881 or earlier rubber stamps were used in the passage of bureaucratic papers of various kinds from one office to the next, often to show that such-and-such office had seen the document and approved. Hence, rubber stamps became one of the symbols of excessive bureaucracy, and a rubber stamp, in your sentence, would be someone whose role was merely to signify their approval of something, to endorse uncritically. The OED says of "rubber stamp" as a verb: "To endorse or approve uncritically; to pass routinely or automatically."
SS