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to butter someone up

Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to flatter someone

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

to butter someone up’ means to treat someone with excessive kindness or praise. It is often targeted to get a special favour.

French translation

flatter ; passer de la pommade à quelqu’un

How NOT to translate : *beurrer quelqu’un

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Examples in context

‘Truly, the chief is a good man, and the town is lucky to have a strong, sensible leader to keep it straight Again, (I) can hear the cynics crying that this is little more than a last-ditch effort to butter up the judges. Nothing could be further from the truth.’

Waterford.patch , 25 Apr. 2013

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’Road trip to butter up New Zealand foodies. Nelson peanut butter manufacturer “Pic Picot” wants his product to become a household name in New Zealand, and hopes an old-fashioned Kiwi road trip will spread the word.’

Reallygood.co.nz, 20 March. 2013

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“We grabbed some fiery libation off a passing tray and darted toward Ms. Mara. The Vogue February cover girl was mum. Had she signed some exclusive with Anna Wintour not to talk to the press ? Or was she simply too big for words these days ? Shindigger played nice and tried to butter her up with a compliment. ’Your couture is phenomenal,’ we said."

The Observer, 06 Feb. 2013

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Everyday usage

Have you heard about the new one, shamelessly buttering up the boss to get a promotion ? I think it’s outrageous.

Nigel buttered his wife up to have a new car… If she says yes, it will kill me !

b) to bribe someone

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) to fire someone

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.


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