Browse by letter

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

To flatter is to give too much praise, to compliment unduly. By its very nature it is insincere, not an expression of honest opinion. If, however, we imitate a person – that is, do as he does – we are paying them a sincere compliment.

‘My neighbour on the left thinks I made a magnificent job of returning our front lawn; he can’t speak too highly of it.’

‘What about the chap on the other side? Is he full of praise too?’

‘No; but as soon as he saw how mine turned out, he began to return his own.’

‘They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!’