I'm looking for a word to describe support that is shown only on a public level; it is declarative but not operational, more like an encouragement. For example, I might support all organizations that deal with deforestation, but I don't give them my money, my time, or anything else. But I will pat them on the back , or tweet my support, or tell the world that I stand behind what they are doing.

I first thought of declarative support, but I couldn't find that phrase on the internet.


8 Answers 8


Perhaps token support

representing no more than a symbolic effort : minimal, perfunctory token resistance; token integration



That is called:

Lip service:

  • support for someone or something that is expressed by someone in words but that is not shown in that person's actions


  • Thanks. In this case, we, as an organizatoin, would be getting support from large international organizations on a "lip" level - which is meaningful for us.
    – srgb
    Mar 4, 2015 at 10:02

Slacktivism seems to fit your description pretty perfectly:

The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes "feel-good" measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little physical or practical effect, other than to make the person doing it feel satisfied that they have contributed... The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist.

(From Wikipedia)

In my experience, It's most commonly applied to the act of "liking" or "up-voting" posts about good causes online, which lets the "clicker" feel awesome about themself, but doesn't really do much to effect change.

  • +1 But Wikiworld is the best you can do? Don't you understand that we don't like wiki stuff at SE?
    – bib
    Mar 3, 2015 at 21:23
  • Oxford
    – bib
    Mar 3, 2015 at 21:25
  • In this case, the "declarative" support we would be getting is beneficial to us.
    – srgb
    Mar 4, 2015 at 9:58
  • @bib, you're just mad that Jimmy Wales refuses to acknowledge your dominance here on ELU as "notable" enough for an entry. :P
    – Jaydles
    Mar 4, 2015 at 15:25
  • @Jaydles Entries? We don't need no stinkin' entries!
    – bib
    Mar 4, 2015 at 16:10

You could say that you support them in word but not in deed.


Though it usually refers to being a boastful person, the phrase all talk can be used to refer to someone who puts a lot of words forward for a cause or action, but doesn't take any action towards it themselves.

Somewhat prejorative, you would say something like "he may like to tell people how he supports deforestationg groups, but he's all talk".

The phrase is a shorthand version of saying someone is all talk and no action.


Your support is only skin deep.


In French, we would use the expression "moral support" see the definition from wikipedia: Moral support is a way of giving support to a person or cause, or to one side in a conflict, without making any contribution beyond the emotional or psychological value of the encouragement.

Hope it helps you :-)

  • 1
    In English, moral support is a common phrase, and it certainly doesn’t mean very much, but it does have a connotation of a certain amount of sincerity and well-meaning, rather than a blatant attempt to get credit for supporting without having to actually do the work.
    – KRyan
    Mar 4, 2015 at 19:20

Another option would be

  • nominal support

existing or being something in name or form only

(Merriam-Webster definition 3a)

This has almost the exact same usage as lip service, and thus might be considered a more-formal alternative to that (though lip service is not very informal).

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