Learn English – word for fake kindness or hospitality


Is there a word for faking kindness/hospitality to sound more tactful and decent than you really are (which could be categorized as some sort of hypocrisy)?

For example, saying: Pay us a visit sometime! when you don't really mean it (you are just trying to sound hospitable).

I know this is not a nice thing to do but sometimes people tend to do it, so I thought it would be useful to know if there is a term for describing such an action or to find the closest possible word or phrase in case there isn't one.

Best Answer

I would suggest: perfunctory

According to dictionary.reference.com:

per·func·to·ry adjective

  1. performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial: perfunctory courtesy.

  2. lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm; indifferent or apathetic: In his lectures he reveals himself to be merely a perfunctory speaker.

This might not fit as a single word for:

a word for faking kindness/hospitality to sound more tactful and descent than you really are

but you could use perfunctory as an adjective and describe your situation.

I could see through his perfunctory kindness/hospitality.

After some further research, I would recommend you to take a look at this definition of perfunctory here, especially the several examples under it's usage. I found them quite interesting. For instance, these two:

  • Hers was no perfunctory task; a mother could not have displayed greater interest in her children- "Deaconesses in Europe" by Jane M. Bancroft

  • They were not perfunctory, but genuinely genuine- "Priestley in America" by Edgar F. Smith