Is there an idiom, proverb or phrase which means "one living in abundance lying to one with little about the importance of the item of scarcity to, for eg., avoid resentment"

For eg. Like the king is calling a starving subject a glutton while eating a sumptuous meal.


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    If any “English language” entity captures this concept, it’ll be a proverb at best. – Dan Bron Apr 16 '18 at 19:57
  • Like a pot calling the kettle black. – user22542 Apr 16 '18 at 20:06
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    Actually, I am still thinking about it. My comment was to the previous comment not the question. – user22542 Apr 16 '18 at 20:17
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    The infamous phrase uttered by Marie Antoinette Let them eat cake. Aka as "Out of touch with reality" – Mari-Lou A Apr 16 '18 at 20:30
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    No. That example is far too complex. Even ”one with a lot lying…” makes it questionable. Anything ”about the importance of the item” makes it mostly opinion. Any motive, including ”to avoid resentment" seems to be speculation. Any of those throws too much doubt on “the king is calling a starving subject a glutton while eating a sumptuous meal”. On your evidence, the best you might get was the the king was an arrogant bully… You forgot to mention trying to motivate anyone for war. Could you drop that, or correct your original Question, please? – Robbie Goodwin May 1 '18 at 20:48

I would say hypocrite is a good description of the king situation, but it doesn't denote anything about doing it for emotional reasons. I think the situation is too specific and uncommon for such a phrase to exist commonly.


Couldn't find idiom, proverb or phrase that fit precisely for this usecase. Ended up using the whole thing.


'Feminists underplaying the need for sex is like the obese rich person underplaying the importance of food to the malnourished poor.'


Hypocrisy means "feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one is not." Hypocrite may not be exact enough to match the situation you describe, but it broadly describes the king's attitude.

"A hypocrite despises those whom he deceives, but has no respect for himself. He would make a dupe of himself too, if he could.: William Hazlitt

  • hypocrite is too broad and not specifically illustrative in this case. – Ayan Mullick May 5 '18 at 14:22

There's a well-known biblical phrase from Matthew 23:3 -- "they do not practice what they preach." In common use it's a way to call out a pompous moralizer who doesn't live up to the principles he uses to belittle or condemn others.

This is still more general in its application than the case you're looking for, but IMO it does come closer to the mark than the word "hypocrite." And what's more, if you see the phrase in its original context -- Jesus condemning the religious leaders of his time -- it actually comes very close to the idea you're trying to get across:

"Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 'The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.'" -- Matthew 23:1-4


This is the best I could come up with in English.

Idiom: "To Wag the dog"

Meaning: To talk about something else (or distract) in order to draw attention away from a more immediate or important issue.

Usage: The fat king just keeps "wagging the dog" (with other promises) while the people go hungry.


  • Thanks. However, this is just about the misdirection. It doesn't capture the fact that one has access to a lot of food and the other doesn't. – Ayan Mullick Apr 17 '18 at 15:51

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