AskDefine | Define flattery

Dictionary Definition

flattery n : excessive or insincere praise

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. Insincere praise or approval, especially for the sake of personal gain.
  2. An instance of insincere praise.

Translations

Extensive Definition

Flattery or adulation is the act of giving excessive compliments, generally for the purpose of ingratiating oneself with the subject. Flattery often, but not always, connotes insincerity.
Historically, flattery has been used as a standard form of discourse when addressing a king or queen. In the Renaissance, it was a common practice among writers to flatter the reigning monarch, as Edmund Spenser flattered Queen Elizabeth I in The Faerie Queene and William Shakespeare flattered King James I in Macbeth.
Flattery is also used in pick-up lines used to attempt to initiate romantic courtship.
Most associations with flattery, however, are negative. Flatterers are sometimes described by pejorative phrases, such as "suck-up", "ass-kisser", or "brown-noser". Negative descriptions of flattery range at least as far back in history as The Bible.
An insincere flatterer is a stock character in many literary works. Examples include Wormtongue from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Goneril and Regan from King Lear, and Iago from Othello.
"To flatter" is also used to refer to artwork or clothing that makes the subject or wearer appear more attractive, as in:
  • The King was pleased with the portrait, as it was very flattering of his girth.
  • I think I'll wear the green dress because it flatters my legs.
flattery in Portuguese: Adulação

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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