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Like in the examples:

「自分が不幸でも他の人が幸せならいいなんて綺麗事だよ」

「人は外見より中身だ、なんて綺麗事だよ」

In the dictionary I found lip service, but it doesn't "feel" very natural to me, although maybe that's just my impression.

What are some other words/expressions which I use in this situation?

2 Answers 2

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Hollow/empty words (n.) or ring hollow (v.), sound empty/hollow fits the meaning of 綺麗事, as it explicitly dismisses the subject-matter as unrealistic and reflects the hypocrisy connotation of 綺麗事. However, it fails to reflect the connotation of how the subject-matter sounds great at first glance.

In this case, idealistic (adj.) can be used instead, to reflect both the superficial positive quality and the unreality of the subject-matter.

「自分が不幸でも他の人が幸せならいいなんて綺麗事だよ」

It's idealistic to put the happiness of other people before your own.

Putting the happiness of other people before your own - how idealistic that is.

「人は外見より中身だ、なんて綺麗事だよ」

It's idealistic to expect people to value personality over looks

Personality over looks - how idealistic that is.

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  • 2
    +1 This answer has the better translations of the word きれいごと unlike definitions in old (open and aboveboard) and modern (whitewashing) dictionaries I have.
    – user15816
    Sep 11, 2016 at 13:46
2

http://detail.chiebukuro.yahoo.co.jp/qa/question_detail/q108124570

  • That's so fake! (ウソっぽいという意味)

  • That's [a] very superficial statement. (現実的でないこと)

  • nice words や fine words で良いのではないでしょうか。

http://eow.alc.co.jp/search?q=%e3%81%8d%e3%82%8c%e3%81%84%e4%ba%8b --> 6件 (other than [nice words] and [fine words ], not too helpful)

The 1st word that came to my mind was platitude(s).

From Obama's speech (?) -- Probably no political platitude is more invoked or more ignored than this: let's do it for the kids.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/platitude --- Beauty, I suppose, opens the heart, extends the consciousness. It is a platitude, of course.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bromide --- We hoped the speech would include reassurances, but instead it was merely one bromide after another.

"feel-good bromides create the illusion of problem solving"

truism, cliche,

Sherlock Holmes may have called it a "commonplace".

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