30 Idioms About Lying with Meaning and Examples

Idioms About Lying

Lying, a universal aspect of human communication, has been talked about in many cultures for centuries. This article dives into common English idioms about lying. Idioms are phrases that don’t mean exactly what the words say, but they have a special meaning that people understand. Let’s explore these colorful expressions.

Table of Contents

Idioms for Lying

Here are 30 idioms related to lying, along with a brief meaning and example for each:

  • “Bear false witness”
    Meaning: To lie or give false testimony.
    Example: He bore false witness during the trial, which led to a wrongful conviction.
  • “Stretch the truth”
    Meaning: To exaggerate or distort the truth.
    Example: He stretched the truth about his role in the project to impress his boss.
  • “Speak with forked tongue”
    Meaning: To say one thing but mean another, often in a deceptive way.
    Example: Politicians are often accused of speaking with forked tongues.
  • “Wolf in sheep’s clothing”
    Meaning: Someone who pretends to be good but is actually not.
    Example: He seemed nice at first, but he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
  • “Bald-faced lie”
    Meaning: A very obvious and audacious lie.
    Example: His claim of having climbed Mount Everest was a bald-faced lie.
  • “Pull a fast one”
    Meaning: To trick or deceive someone.
    Example: She tried to pull a fast one by altering the contract.
  • “Pull the wool over someone’s eyes”
    Meaning: To deceive someone.
    Example: He thought he could pull the wool over my eyes, but I knew he wasn’t telling the truth.
  • “False pretenses”
    Meaning: A situation where someone lies about their identity or intentions.
    Example: He entered the building under false pretenses, claiming to be a police officer.
  • “Crocodile tears”
    Meaning: Fake or insincere tears; a display of false sadness.
    Example: She shed crocodile tears when she heard the news, but I knew she didn’t care.
  • “Cover up”
    Meaning: To try to hide a wrongdoing or mistake.
    Example: The company tried to cover up the scandal.
  • “Pants on fire”
    Meaning: A phrase indicating that someone is lying.
    Example: When he said he hadn’t eaten the cookies, his brother exclaimed, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”
  • “Smoke and mirrors”
    Meaning: Deceptive or misleading behavior.
    Example: Their marketing is just smoke and mirrors; the product doesn’t really work.
  • “Throw a curveball”
    Meaning: To mislead or deceive.
    Example: His sudden change in story threw a curveball in the investigation.
  • “Economical with the truth”
    Meaning: To leave out important facts or details; essentially a polite way of saying someone is lying.
    Example: He was economical with the truth about his qualifications.
  • “Spin a yarn”
    Meaning: To tell a fanciful or lengthy tale.
    Example: He spun a yarn about his adventures in the Amazon.
  • “Feign ignorance”
    Meaning: To pretend not to know something in order to deceive.
    Example: He feigned ignorance about the missing money, but I knew he was involved.
  • “Bait and switch”
    Meaning: A deceptive practice of advertising one thing and then offering something else.
    Example: The advertisement was a bait and switch; the actual product was much more expensive.
  • “Play possum”
    Meaning: To pretend to be dead or asleep to avoid attention or deceive someone.
    Example: When asked about the missing reports, he played possum, pretending not to hear the question.
  • “Lead down the garden path”
    Meaning: To deceive or mislead someone.
    Example: He led her down the garden path with promises of a promotion.
  • “Tell tales”
    Meaning: To spread rumors or falsehoods.
    Example: She was known to tell tales about her colleagues.
  • “Pulling the strings”
    Meaning: To control a situation or person indirectly, often deceptively.
    Example: She wasn’t the CEO, but she was pulling the strings behind the scenes.
  • “Pull someone’s leg”
    Meaning: To joke or tease someone by telling them something untrue.
    Example: I’m just pulling your leg; I didn’t really win the lottery.
  • “Fib”
    Meaning: A small, trivial lie.
    Example: He fibbed about his age to seem younger.
  • “Full of hot air”
    Meaning: To make claims or boasts that are untrue or exaggerated.
    Example: He’s full of hot air when he talks about his wealth.
  • “Lie through one’s teeth”
    Meaning: To tell a complete lie.
    Example: She lied through her teeth about having completed the project.
  • “Not hold water”
    Meaning: An argument or story that is full of holes or inconsistencies.
    Example: His alibi just didn’t hold water.
  • “Hoodwink”
    Meaning: To deceive or trick someone.
    Example: He hoodwinked investors with false promises.
  • “Pinocchio effect”
    Meaning: A situation where a person’s lies become apparent.
    Example: His nervous behavior was a Pinocchio effect, revealing his dishonesty.
  • “Blow smoke”
    Meaning: To deceive or obscure the truth.
    Example: He’s just blowing smoke to avoid answering the question directly.
  • “White lie”
    Meaning: A harmless or small lie told to be polite or to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.
    Example: I told a white lie when I said I liked her dress, just to avoid upsetting her.

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