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Butter someone up

Posted by ESC on March 18, 2004

In Reply to: Butter someone up posted by Sax on March 18, 2004

: Hi! Can you please give me some history on this phrase? Thank you...Sax

BUTTER UP -- "Flatter; seek a favor by excessive praise. It is a transfer from the homely practice of spreading an oleaginous substance on bread. Earlier examples of the figurative meaning can be cited, but the pleasantest one comes from the 'Saturday Review' of July 5, 1884: 'The Lord Chief Justice of England made a tour through America and generously buttered the natives." From "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).