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cupboard love (uncountable)

  1. Insincere (and usually fickle) love pretended in the hope of gaining something useful in exchange.
    • 1788, Anna Seward, Letter to Mrs Knowles April 20, 1788 read in Archibald Constable (editor), Letters of Anna Seward: Written Between the Years 1784 and 1807, Archibald Constable & Co, and Longman, etc. (1811) p. 103,
      This last and long-enduring passion for Mrs Thrale was, however, composed equally perhaps of cupboard-love, Platonic love, and vanity tickled and gratified from morn to night by incessant homage.
    • 1818, Thomas Brown, Bath, a satirical novel[1], page 114:
      Besides, Sandy includes a little cupboard love in the detail of his sentiments. Nothing can be a more undeniable proof of the truth of this statement than the trials of Mrs. K—— and Mrs. D——. In both instances the lovers were nice, attentive fatherly men.
    • 2006, Hilary Lloyd, A Necessary Killing, UKA Press, ISBN 1905796005, p. 30,
      I stump down my field, not the lane past Mike's, and the ewes think it's feeding time. I let them bombard me, grateful for the noisy bleating of their cupboard love.
    • 2006, Neil A. Harris, The Council of Elders: The Halfling Chronicles Book 1, AuthorHouse, ISBN 1425913741, p. 191,
      You don't owe them anything Stephen, its just cupboard love...suddenly they need you...you said it yourself, they never contacted you before.

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