Open main menu


intentionally false statement to a person or group made by another person or group who knows it is not wholly the truth
(Redirected from Lie)
By a lie a man throws away and, as it were, annihilates his dignity as a man. - Immanuel Kant
Lying is the same as alcoholism. Liars prevaricate even on their deathbeds. ~ Anton Chekhov

Lying is the act of making a statement that the speaker knows to be untrue. It is a form of dishonesty.


  • And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
    • Gautama Buddha, Maha-cattarisaka Sutta, Pali Canon, as translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
  • "Or he might say: 'Having abandoned false speech, the recluse Gotama abstains from falsehood. He speaks only the truth, he lives devoted to truth; trustworthy and reliable, he does not deceive anyone in the world.'
  • Resolved to die in the last dyke of prevarication.
  • Quoth Hudibras, I smell a rat;
    Ralpho, thou dost prevaricate.
  • And, after all, what is a lie? 'Tis but
    The truth in masquerade.
  • I tell him, if a clergyman, he lies!
    If captains the remark, or critics, make,
    Why they lie also—under a mistake.
  • There's times to be real, and there's times to be phony. That's right, I said it, phony! You think I'm this nice in real life? Fuck that, son! That's just 'cause I'm on TV. I'd pull my balls out right now... skeet skeet skeet skeet!
  • Mankind are not held together by lies. Trust is the foundation of society. Where there is no truth, there can be no trust, and where there is no trust, there can be no society. Where there is society, there is trust, and where there is trust, there is something upon which it is supported.
  • To lie is so vile, that even if it were in speaking well of godly things it would take off something from God's grace; and Truth is so excellent, that if it praises but small things they become noble.
    • Leonardo da Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci (1938), XIX Philosophical Maxims. Morals. Polemics and Speculations., as translated by Edward MacCurdy.
  • Beyond a doubt truth bears the same relation to falsehood as light to darkness; and this truth is in itself so excellent that, even when it dwells on humble and lowly matters, it is still infinitely above uncertainty and lies, disguised in high and lofty discourses; because in our minds, even if lying should be their fifth element, this does not prevent that the truth of things is the chief nutriment of superior intellects, though not of wandering wits. But you who live in dreams are better pleased by the sophistical reasons and frauds of wits in great and uncertain things, than by those reasons which are certain and natural and not so far above us.
    • Leonardo da Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci (1938), XIX Philosophical Maxims. Morals. Polemics and Speculations., as translated by Edward MacCurdy.
  • Fire is to represent truth because it destroys all sophistry and lies; and the mask is for lying and falsehood which conceal truth.
    • Leonardo da Vinci, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci (1938), X Studies and Sketches for Pictures and Decorations, as translated by Edward MacCurdy.
  • I always divide people into two groups. Those who live by what they know to be a lie, and those who live by what they believe, falsely, to be the truth.
  • Half the world knows not how the other half lies.
  • Show me a liar, and I will show thee a thief.
  • Children and fooles can not ly.
  • You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
    • John 8:44, English Standard Version
  • By a lie a man throws away and, as it were, annihilates his dignity as a man. A man who himself does not believe what he tells another … has even less worth than if he were a mere thing … makes himself a mere deceptive appearance of man, not man himself.
    • Immanuel Kant, Doctrine of Virtue as translated by Mary J. Gregor (1964), p. 93.
  • His supposed mythomania [of Diego Rivera] is in direct relation to his tremendous imagination. That is to say, he is as much of a liar as the poets or as the children who have not yet been turned into idiots by school or mothers. I have heard him tell all kinds of lies: from the most innocent, to the most complicated stories about people whom his imagination combined in a fantastic situation or actions, always with a great sense of humor and a marvelous critical sense; but I have never heard him say a single stupid or banal lie. Lying, or playing at lying, he unmasks many people, he learns the interior mechanism of others, who are much more ingenuously liars than he, and the most curious thing about the supposed lies of Diego, is that in the long and short of it, those who are involved in the imaginary combination become angry, not because of the lie, but because of the truth contained in the lie, that always comes to the surface.
    • Frida Kahlo on Diego Rivera, in Portrait of Diego [Retrato de Diego] (22 January 1949), first published in Hoy (Mexico City) and posthumously (17 July 1955) in Novedades (Mexico City): "México en la Cultura"
  • Drummond: All shine, and no substance! Bert, whenever you see something bright, shining, perfect-seeming—all gold, with purple spots—look behind the paint! And if it’s a lie—show it up for what it really is!
  • A motion picture must be true to life. If a picture portrays a false emotion a false emotion it trains people seeing it to react abnormally.
  • In the majority of cases which are brought to me as a consulting psychologist for love and marital adjustment, there are self-deceptions to be uncovered as well as attempts to deceive other people. Beneath such love conflicts there is almost always a festering psychological core of dishonesty.
  • My body aches from mistakes betrayed by lust
    We lied to each other so much that in nothing we trust.
    • Trust, from the album Cryptic Writings by Megadeth, written by Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman
  • By telling a single lie to oneself or to another, by denying a single fact of the world as it has been created, one adds to the World’s Pain.
  • False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
  • To lapse in fulness
    Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood
    Is worse in kings than beggars.
  • Lord, Lord, how this world is given to lying! I grant you I was down and out of breath; and so was he: but we rose both at an instant and fought a long hour by Shrewsbury clock.
  • Whose tongue soe'er speaks false,
    Not truly speaks; who speaks not truly, lies.
  • An evil soul producing holy witness
    Is like a villain with a smiling cheek;
    A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
    O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!
  • It is better to be poor and walk in integrity than to be stupid and speak lies.
  • A lie never lives to be old.
  • I mean you lie—under a mistake.
    • Jonathan Swift, Polite Conversation (c. 1738), Dialogue 1. Same phrase used by De Quincey, Southey, Landor.
  • If you want truth to go round the world you must hire an express train to pull it. But if you want a lie to go round the world, it will fly; it is light as a feather and a breath will carry it.
    • Charles Spurgeon, Sermons delivered in Exeter Hall, Strand, during the enlargement of New Park Street Chapel, Southmark, (1855)

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 485-87.
  • A giurar presti i mentitor son sempre.
  • Se non volea pulir sua scusa tanto,
    Che la facesse di menzogna rea.
    • But that he wrought so high the specious tale,
      As manifested plainly 'twas a lie.
    • Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso (1516), XVIII. 84.
  • And none speaks false, when there is none to hear.
  • You lie—under a mistake—
    For this is the most civil sort of lie
    That can be given to a man's face, I now
    Say what I think.
    • Calderon, El Magico Prodigioso, scene 1. Translation by Shelley.
  • Ita enim finitima sunt falsa veris ut in præcipitem locum non debeat se sapiens committere.
    • So near is falsehood to truth that a wise man would do well not to trust himself on the narrow edge.
    • Cicero, Academici, IV. 21.
  • Mendaci homini ne verum quidem dicenti credere solemus.
    • A liar is not believed even though he tell the truth.
    • Cicero, De Divinatione, II. 71. Same idea in Phædrusm Fables, I, 10, 1.
  • The silent colossal National Lie that is the support and confederate of all the tyrannies and shams and inequalities and unfairnesses that afflict the peoples—that is the one to throw bricks and sermons at.
  • An experienced, industrious, ambitious, and often quite picturesque liar.
  • Un menteur est toujours prodigue de serments.
  • Il faut bonne mémoire après qu'on a menti.
  • Some truth there was, but dash'd and brew'd with lies,
    To please the fools, and puzzle all the wise.
  • Wenn ich irre kann es jeder bemerken; wenn ich lüge, nicht.
  • As ten millions of circles can never make a square, so the united voice of myriads cannot lend the smallest foundation to falsehood.
  • Dare to be true: nothing can need a lie;
    A fault which needs it most, grows two thereby.
  • Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.
  • Who dares think one thing, and another tell,
    My heart detests him as the gates of hell.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book IX, line 412. Pope's translation.
  • Urge him with truth to frame his fair replies;
    And sure he will; for wisdom never lies.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book III, line 25. Pope's translation.
  • For my part getting up seems not so easy
    By half as lying.
  • Splendide mendax.
    • Splendidly mendacious.
    • Horace, Carmina, III. 11. 35.
  • Round numbers are always false.
    • Samuel Johnson, Johnsoniana; Apothegms, Sentiment, etc. From Hawkins' Collective Edition.
  • Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.
    • False in one thing, false in everything.
    • Law Maxim.
  • Qui ne sent point assez ferme de memoire, ne se doit pas mêler d'être menteur.
    • Who is not sure of his memory should not attempt lying.
    • Michel de Montaigne, Of Liars, Book I, Chapter IX.
  • Hercle audivi esse optimum mendacium.
    Quicquid dei dicunt, id rectum est dicere.
    • By Hercules! I have often heard that your piping-hot lie is the best of lies: what the gods dictate, that is right.
    • Plautus, Mostellaria, III. 1. 134.
  • Playing the Cretan with the Cretans (i.e. lying to liars).
    • Plutarch, quoting a Greek proverb used by Paulus Æmilius.
  • I said in my haste, All men are liars.
    • Psalms. CXVI. 11.
  • The Book of Daniel is especially fitted to be a battle-ground between faith and unbelief. It admits of no half-way measures. It is either divine or an imposture. The writer, were he not Daniel, must have lied on a most frightful scale.
  • Mendacem memorem esse oportet.
    • It is fitting that a liar should be a man of good memory.
    • Quintilian, IV. 2. 91.
  • Ce mensonge immortel.
    • That immortal lie.
    • Rev. Père de Ravignan. Found in Poujoulat's Sa Vie, ses Œuvres.
  • This shows that liars ought to have good memories.
  • A lie never lives to be old.
  • That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies;
    That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright—
    But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.
  • And he that does one fault at first,
    And lies to hide it, makes it two.
  • An animal may be cunning and ferocious enough, but it takes a real man to tell a lie.
  • I give him joy that's awkward at a lie.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night VIII, line 361.

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: