White lie
Lie Lie (l[imac]), n. [AS. lyge; akin to D. leugen, OHG. lugi, G. l["u]ge, lug, Icel. lygi, Dan. & Sw. l["o]gn, Goth. liugn. See {Lie} to utter a falsehood.] 1. A falsehood uttered or acted for the purpose of deception; an intentional violation of truth; an untruth spoken with the intention to deceive. [1913 Webster]

The proper notion of a lie is an endeavoring to deceive another by signifying that to him as true, which we ourselves think not to be so. --S. Clarke. [1913 Webster]

It is willful deceit that makes a lie. A man may act a lie, as by pointing his finger in a wrong direction when a traveler inquires of him his road. --Paley. [1913 Webster]

2. A fiction; a fable; an untruth. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

3. Anything which misleads or disappoints. [1913 Webster]

Wishing this lie of life was o'er. --Trench. [1913 Webster]

{To give the lie to}. (a) To charge with falsehood; as, the man gave him the lie. (b) To reveal to be false; as, a man's actions may give the lie to his words.

{White lie}, a euphemism for such lies as one finds it convenient to tell, and excuses himself for telling. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Untruth; falsehood; fiction; deception.

Usage: {Lie}, {Untruth}. A man may state what is untrue from ignorance or misconception; hence, to impute an untruth to one is not necessarily the same as charging him with a lie. Every lie is an untruth, but not every untruth is a lie. Cf. {Falsity}. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • White lie — White White (hw[imac]t), a. [Compar. {Whiter} (hw[imac]t [ e]r); superl. {Whitest}.] [OE. whit, AS. hw[imac]t; akin to OFries. and OS. hw[=i]t, D. wit, G. weiss, OHG. w[=i]z, hw[=i]z, Icel. hv[=i]tr, Sw. hvit, Dan. hvid, Goth. hweits, Lith.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • white lie — If you tell a white lie, you lie in order not to hurt someone s feelings …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • white lie — n informal a lie that you tell someone in order to protect them or avoid hurting their feelings …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • white lie — noun count a lie told to avoid making someone upset, not for your own advantage or in order to harm someone else …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • white lie — white′ lie′ n. a minor or harmless lie; fib …   From formal English to slang

  • white lie — ► NOUN ▪ a harmless lie told to avoid hurting someone s feelings …   English terms dictionary

  • white lie — n. a lie concerning a trivial matter, often one told to spare someone s feelings …   English World dictionary

  • white lie — white lies N COUNT If you refer to an untrue statement as a white lie, you mean that it is made to avoid hurting someone s feelings or to avoid trouble, and not for an evil purpose …   English dictionary

  • white lie — noun an unimportant lie (especially one told to be tactful or polite) • Hypernyms: ↑lie, ↑prevarication * * * a minor, polite, or harmless lie; fib. * * * white lie A minor falsehood, esp one uttered for reasons of tact, etc • • • Main Entry:… …   Useful english dictionary

  • white lie —    If you tell a white lie, you lie in order not to hurt someone s feelings.   (Dorking School Dictionary)    ***    If you tell a white lie, you say something which is not true in order to protect someone or to avoid hurting their feelings.    … …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

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