verb: gain favor with somebody by deliberate efforts

Even though Tom didn't like his new boss, he decided to ingratiate himself to her in order to advance his career.

I find the meaning a little vague even after searching multiple sources.

My doubt is that we gain favor from someone not with someone by putting efforts. We do favor for someone not with someone.

What is the clear meaning of this word is still unclear to me?

1 Answer 1


One can do a favour for someone (or do someone a favour), meaning basically "do something for them because you are kind". If I do a favour for you, I carry out some action because I want to do something kind for you.

Separately, one can gain favour with someone. I gain favour with you if you get a better opinion of me. Crucially, "I gain favour with you" indicates a change in your mental state, not an action I carry out.

I can try to gain favour with you - for example, by doing you a favour - but I can't guarantee it: I can only gain favour with you if your mental state changes, and I can't force your mental state to change.

I ingratiate myself with you if I do something with the specific aim of gaining favour with you.

  • Can I ask what is the meaning of favor in this sentence? I looked online and saw there are multiple meaning of favor. I think I am confused because I don't know how the word favor fits in the meaning. The only meaning I know is -an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual. "I've come to ask you a favor"
    – ssrm7_bot
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 18:23
  • 1
    In "gain favour with someone", the word "favour" doesn't mean "an act of kindness". It is more like the meaning "a condition of being regarded with approval or good will". Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 18:52

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