damn with faint praise
Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- (idiomatic) To provide praise that is minimal or inconsequential, implying that such praise is the best that could be said.
1735, Alexander Pope, Epistle to Doctor Arbuthnot:
- Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
- And without sneering teach the rest to sneer.
1887, Donn Piatt, Memories of the Men who Saved the Union, page 296:
- The patronizing manner in which the hero of Nashville is damned with faint praise would amuse were it not so exasperating.
- 1917, Lucy Maud Montgomery, "The Alpine Path: The Story Of My Career" in Everywoman's World:
- Four of them returned it with a cold, printed note of rejection; one of them “damned with faint praise.” They wrote that “Our readers report that they find some merit in your story, but not enough to warrant its acceptance.”
- 2010 Nov. 16, Maureen Dowd, "The Way They Were," New York Times (retrieved 6 Oct 2013):
- And then, finally, when W. could avoid it no longer, he mentioned Vice, damning with faint praise: “Dick Cheney’s advice was consistent and strong.”