mutual admiration society

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mutual admiration society (plural mutual admiration societies)

  1. (idiomatic, derogatory) A group of two or more people, in a workplace or other social environment, who routinely express considerable esteem and support for one another, sometimes to the point of exaggeration or pretense.
    Those two are incessantly flattering one another. They've formed an utterly nauseating mutual admiration society!
    • 1824, The Westminster Review, London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, page 400:
      And the said members did accordingly resolve themselves into a little "mutual admiration society" for the entertainment and benefit of their visitors.
    • 1872, Edward Payson Roe, chapter 32, in Barriers Burned Away:
      The note is from a special friend of yours; indeed I think you form a little mutual-admiration society.
    • 1889, Fergus Hume, chapter 13, in Madame Midas:
      Vandeloup smiled at this, and came to the conclusion that the Wopples family was a mutual admiration society.
    • 1919, Virginia Woolf, chapter 26, in Night and Day:
      If you don't want a mutual admiration society, which dies as soon as you've all discovered each other's faults, you must nobble the Press.
    • 2007 July 17, Bill Gallo, “Signs of DiMaggio's greatness”, in New York Daily News:
      Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays had a mutual admiration society and the Clipper was happy to put his respect into writing.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Matt Dubey's lyrics for the 1956 Broadway musical Happy Hunting, became an instant hit and brought the term into common use:
    We belong to a mutual admiration society.




  • "mutual admiration society" in The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Houghton Mifflin Company. Retrieved 16 May 2007.
  • "mutual admiration society" in The Canadian Oxford Dictionary. Oxford University Press 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Retrieved 16 May 2007.
  • Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989. See "mutual admiration society," under "mutual."