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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Truth may be highly praised and sought by honest men. But, in truth, lying is very common. In the 19th century, English writer Samuel Butler commented, ”The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of lying go the longest way.” And English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson noted that the half-truth is the worst of lies. He said it is harder to prove wrong than a complete lie.
Some early American writers used what they said was an American Indian expression, when they said a person spoke with a “forked tongue.” It may be that people thought the expression sounded like something an Indian might say.

One very old expression is to accuse a person of “lying through his teeth.” It means to purposely tell a big lie. If you accuse someone of “lying through his teeth,” you are making a very strong accusation.

Another expression describes lies that are not too bad, even if they are not complete truth. The expression is a “little white lie.” A white lie is a false statement or lie that seems harmless. It called white because the color white is linked to innocence and purity.

A white lie can be forgiven, because it usually is told to keep someone’s feelings from being hurt. That kind of a lie – a white lie – does two things. It keeps your friend’s feelings from being hurt. And it keeps her as a friend.

English churchman William Paley 200 years ago that white lies usually introduce darker ones.


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