There is "lend support to" and there is "give support to". Does the first imply expecting return of favor? Or are the two synonymous?

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    Yes, 'lend' in 'lend support to' has the meaning 'give'; there is no expectation that anything be returned. When my friend complained about the bad state of the roads in our town, I lent my voice to his campaign. I didn;t want 'my voice' back! Commented Apr 29 at 13:10
  • Collins COBUILD specifically discusses "lend support" under definition 3. Longman's dictionary and Farlex free dictionary also have entries on "lend support". And there's a question on English Language and Usage. No mention of returning the favor.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 29 at 13:19
  • We often say a line of reasoning "lends support" to someone's conclusions, without expecting anything in return. Or just "supports" - the word "lend" usually has little or no meaning in this context. Commented Apr 29 at 15:31
  • I don't quite see the premise of the question. When you lend someone something, they give back the same thing, not a different thing of their own. If you lend someone your lawn mower, they give you your own lawn mower back, not their lawn mower. Similarly, if you lend someone your support, you may take your support back and not support them anymore, but there is no implication of the other person giving you their support. Commented Apr 29 at 17:09
  • @NuclearHoagie: But it's an idiom. The literal meaning of "lend" is irrelevant in the figurative context of X lends support to Y (X gives you more reason to believe Y is true, or a good idea, etc.). In such figurative contexts, "lend" is just a kind of "optional literary flourish" that makes no difference to the meaning, whether present or not. Commented Apr 29 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


Both of these expressions are synonymous in meaning and both of them imply assisting someone or something. It is not deducible from the context of these expressions that they somehow imply expectation of return of favor. However, as the saying goes - 'one good turn deserves another'.


There are lots of cases where support is given without any expectation of return. Political campaigns for example.

The most a campaign worker can really expect is thanks from the candidate, and that isn't likely to be personal unless the worker does something very noteworthy.

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