What do we call something we do just for showing off? We are doing it but there is no real intention behind it, and it has no meaning to us.

For example, everyone is writing about women's rights, so our organization tries not to fall behind and prepares a manifesto. They do not really mean what they have expressed in the manifesto. They just wanted to show others that they can say something in that field, and that they know what is going on.

  • 1
    A clear question will attract better answers. Please give an example of "showing off" but not wanting to do it. The question should be tagged "idom /phrase / word request" Or do you specifically want a noun?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 11, 2018 at 8:42
  • Yeah, I can't make heads or tails of what you're asking. You answered your own question with "boastful," but that doesn't fit with what we'd call something we'd do just to show off we are doing it, never mind all that bit about no real intention or meaning to us.
    – Billy
    Jul 11, 2018 at 9:08
  • thanks a lot for your advice. I did my best to explain what i mean through examples. Jul 11, 2018 at 9:29
  • Allowing 'phrases' may benefit your question with more answers.
    – lbf
    Jul 11, 2018 at 9:40

4 Answers 4


a newer phrase is Virtue-signalling , this is an insulting phrase.

Virtue signalling is the conspicuous expression of moral values.1

The term was first used in signalling theory, to describe any behavior that could be used to signal virtue—especially piety among the religious.[2]

In recent years, the term has become more commonly used as a pejorative by commentators to criticize what they regard as empty or superficial support of certain political views, and also used within groups to criticize their own members for valuing appearance over action.[3][4]



I think "boastful" might be the suitable word here.


go through the motions TDF idiom

If you go through the motions, you do something that you have to do or are expected to do, but without any real effort or enthusiasm.

Your question

What do we call something we do just to show off we are doing it?

with show-off could imply an ostentatious display , but your description implies none. Thus with this sense in mind I think this idiom is apropos.


Jumping on the bandwagon comes to mind.

Bandwagon, according to Merriam-Webster's, includes the definition:

a current or fashionable trend.

To jump on the bandwagon is an idiom for following a trend.

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