Almost like when one says one thing and does another (hypocrisy), but if one were expressing emotions, opinions or beliefs without following through in their day-to-day actions or way of living. Not necessarily that they're being actively deceptive about what they believe, but that expressing themselves provides enough catharsis that they don't feel the need to take action afterwards - i.e. my own belief in my moral superiority is confirmed/bolstered by my words not my deeds.

For example, if the Prime Minister made an emotional speech on television about the horrors of genocide on Holocaust Memorial Day, but did not make intervention in current genocides a political priority, because she felt like she'd done enough by just talking about it.

Or another example: Crying to your friend because you miss your sister, and you want your friend to know that you care about your family, but after receiving praise/comfort/etc from your friend, you don't actually call your sister.

Thank you.

  • Talking out of both sides of one's mouth
    – DJohnson
    Apr 14 '18 at 12:30
  • not quite an "arm chair quarterback". I think there is something about politics like that .. maybe related to 'living room' or 'balcony'
    – Tom22
    Apr 14 '18 at 22:45
  • There is also that "all talk and no action". .. or simply "all talk" merriam-webster.com/dictionary/all%20talk (and other idioms like "big hat, no cattle" which had an answer here a few times
    – Tom22
    Apr 14 '18 at 22:47

The people in the examples are paying lip service (to something).


lip service
The insincere verbal expression of something, especially friendship, loyalty, respect, support, etc.
Used especially in the phrase "give/pay lip service to something."
All of the grand promises the president made in her campaign speeches turned out to be nothing but lip service.
The local council members pay lip service each year to a renewed plan to tackle homelessness, but no one ever expects them to follow through.

Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


pay lip service to
Express approval of or support for (something) insincerely or without taking any significant action.

‘they pay lip service to equality but they don't want to do anything about it’


In politics, this could be:

toeing the line

where you are expected to fall in with your parties beliefs, whether you personally believe the doctrines or not.


Possibly "sanctimony" (sanctimonious or sanctimoniousness) would be a good word answer to the question. It also has several synonyms with slight nuances of degree or intended meaning.



two-facedness TFD

Hypocritical or double-dealing; deceitful.


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