Richard Nordquist offers some common phrases and their real meaning. An excerpt:
Sixty years ago, columnist Sydney J. Harris began compiling a Dictionary of Pharisaical Phrases–expressions that mean the opposite of what they say. “Whenever people want to hurt others, and gratify themselves,” Harris observed, “they begin with a mealy-mouthed phrase.”
Harris’s work was left unfinished, and, unfortunately, there’s no evidence that verbal hypocrisies have diminished over the years. Therefore, I’m sure you won’t mind if I pick up this project where Harris left off–with ten examples adapted from essays in his collection Strictly Personal (1953).