Barmacide feast

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Derives from a story (The Story of the Barber's Sixth Brother) of a hungry beggar invited by a Barmacide (Barmakids) prince to a banquet, which proved a long succession of merely empty dishes, and which he enjoyed with such seeming gusto and such good-humour as to earn for himself a sumptuous real one.

Proper noun[edit]

Barmacide feast

  1. (idiomatic) Something that appears highly desirable, but proves to be imaginary, illusory and ultimately very disappointing.


  • The Nuttall Encyclopaedia, by P. Austin Nuttall and James Wood F. Warne and Co., Ltd.: 1920, page 54.
  • (etymology) The Story of the Barber's Sixth Brother, The Book of One Thousand and One Nights.