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Lying

  • Lying contains the same hostile elements as a practical joke in that the 'victim' ends up looking foolish in his own eyes and laughable in everyone else's.

  • Lies will flow from my lips, but there may perhaps be some truth mixed up with them ...

  • Falsehood is so easy, truth so difficult.

  • She lied with fluency, ease and artistic fervor.

  • Laurent was very sincere. When he lied, he was the first person deceived.

  • You lied / To me. / I didn't / Make it safe / For you / To tell me / The truth.

  • ... lying to him was as necesary as breathing or wrapping up against the cold — a defence against curiosity.

  • He was so nearly honest a man, that his undigested lie, mortally disagreed with him.

  • Truth is no man's slave — but lies — what magnificent servants they make ...

  • Elvira always lied first to herself before she lied to anybody else, since this gave her a conviction of moral honesty.

  • He led a double life. Did that make him a liar? He did not feel a liar. He was a man of two truths ...

  • Lying wastes more time than anything else in the modern world.

  • Cowards are not invariably liars, but liars are invariably cowards.

  • That was the trouble with lies: it was very important to remember them accurately when, generally, they were the things you most wanted to forget.

  • The last sin, the sin against the Holy Ghost — to lie to oneself. Lying to other people — that's a small thing in comparison.

  • So often the truth is told with hate, and lies are told with love.

  • ... the result of a consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth is not that the lie will now be accepted as truth, and truth be defamed as lie, but that the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world — and the category of truth versus falsehood is among the mental means to this end — is being destroyed.

    • Hannah Arendt,
    • "Truth and Politics," in Peter Laslett and W.G. Runciman, eds., Philosophy, Politics and Society ()
  • There always comes a point beyond which lying becomes counterproductive. This point is reached when the audience to which the lies are addressed is forced to disregard altogether the distinguishing line between truth and falsehood in order to be able to survive.

    • Hannah Arendt,
    • "Lying in Politics," Crises of the Republic ()
  • Truthfulness has never been counted among the political virtues, and lies have always been regarded as justifiable tools in political dealings.

    • Hannah Arendt,
    • "Lying in Politics," Crises of the Republic ()
  • The whole world is absolutely brought up on lies. We are fed nothing but lies. We begin with lies, and half our lives we live with lies. Most human beings waste some twenty-five to thirty years of their lives before they break through the actual and conventional lies which surround them.

  • The little bit of truth contained in many a lie is what makes them so terrible.

  • Lying is an elementary means of self-defense.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • "The Double Standard of Aging," Saturday Review ()
  • ... maybe half a lie is worse than a real lie.

  • A man should be jailed for telling lies to the young.

  • ... the chief thing I learnt at school was how to tell lies.

  • Nobody speaks the truth when there's something they must have.

  • Never to lie is to have no lock to your door ...

  • Lying is done with words, and also with silence.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying," On Lies, Secrets, and Silence ()
  • The liar has many friends, and leads an existence of great loneliness.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying," On Lies, Secrets, and Silence ()
  • The liar often suffers from amnesia. Amnesia is the silence of the unconscious.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying," On Lies, Secrets, and Silence ()
  • Lies are usually attempts to make everything simpler — for the liar — than it really is, or ought to be.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying," On Lies, Secrets, and Silence ()
  • The liar leads an existence of unutterable loneliness.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying," On Lies, Secrets, and Silence ()
  • We reveal more of ourselves in the lies we tell than we do when we try to tell the truth.

  • If one cannot invent a really convincing lie, it is often better to stick to the truth.

  • ... lying matters. Truth is a rock; if you chip away at it enough, you wind up with gravel, then sand.

  • Intelligent people, caught at anything, denied it. Faced with evidence of having denied it falsely, people said they had not done it and had not lied about it, and didn't remember it, but if they had done it, or lied about it, they would have done it and misspoken themselves about it in an interest so much higher as to alter the nature of doing and lying altogether.

  • ... she took a little picture of M. de Turenne from madame d'Elbeuf, who used to wear it on her arm. Madame d'Elbeuf asked her for it several times; she always told her, she had lost it, but we guess it is not lost to every one.

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • 1675, Letters of Madame de Sévigné to Her Daughter and Her Friends, vol. 3 ()
  • ... falsehood is not more unjustifiable than unsafe.

  • ... even constant liars tell the truth every once in a while, and at the most inconvenient times.

  • A lie that is half a truth is ever the hardest to fight.

  • As many have observed, it is easy to tell a lie, but it is almost impossible to tell only one.

  • We are better deceived by having some truth told us than none.

  • You can ring practically indefinite changes on a lie but there's only one truth — and it's always the same.

  • Lies are the death of an honest relationship.

  • I also hate it when men lie to me. It's not becoming, and they're rarely very good at it.

  • On the whole, I should say that the person who likes to lie should never, in any circumstances, be allowed to. Leave the lying to the people who hate it. You will not find them indulging often.

  • ... it is not permissible to lie merely to save one's face. But it is sometimes permissible to lie to save another person's face ...

  • Lying is common because, in general, the ability to deceive is better than the ability to perceive.

  • Wouldn't it be kinder to say that a lie is a short work of fiction? 'A story' as my daughter says?

  • Even a small, everyday lie is a clue to the personality and preoccupations of the liar, like a dream or any other confection of the mind, that is half-conscious and half-unconscious, as all creative acts must be.

  • ... fiction and lies are both works of creative art, and creation always reveals the creator.

  • Nothing creates such untruth in you as the wish to please.

  • Half-truths can be more pernicious than outright falsehoods.

    • Wendy Lesser,
    • "Who's Afraid of Arnold Bennett?" New York Times ()
  • ... a lie in time saves nine.

  • Lying increases the creative faculties, expands the ego, and lessens the frictions of social contacts. ... It is only in lies, wholeheartedly and bravely told, that human nature attains through words and speech the forbearance, the nobility, the romance, the idealism that — being what it is — it falls so short of in fact and in deed.

  • Are you a politician or does lying just run in your family?

  • ... they reminded me of the biggest liar I ever knew personally. Was a farmer, too. Reputation of pretty good farmer at that, but he lied so he had to hire another man to call his pigs.

  • Our whole lives are lived in a tangle of telling, not telling, misleading, allowing to know, concealing, eavesdropping and collusion. When Washington said he could not tell a lie, his father must have answered, 'You had better learn.'

    • Germaine Greer,
    • in Christine Wallace, Germaine Greer: Untamed Shrew ()
  • ... figures don't lie but liars figure.

  • ... white lies are to social life what oil is to machinery — a necessity for easy and beneficial results.

  • ... nothing is more like truth than a lie, don't you find?

  • It isn't the initial cost of a lie, it is the upkeep which counts so terribly.

  • He lies like a book. And he reads a lot of books.

  • I am a congenital liar. Some Highlanders are. To my ancestors, the truth was so sacred as to be unusable.

  • Truth is a theory that is constantly being disproved. Only lies, it seems, go on forever.

  • People who take no pains no see things as they are, who are given to exaggeration, and careless of their statements, may so weaken the faculties of the mind as to bring on pseudophobia and become in a measure incapable of speaking the truth.

  • ... I believe in the dull lie — make your story boring enough and no one will question it.

  • I also know that you can lie not only by what you say but what you don't say.

  • How easy it was to lie to strangers, to create with strangers the versions of our lives that we have imagined.

  • Kit was not blind to the fact that his habitual honesty was an unfailing passport for his lies, and it did nothing to increase his pleasure in telling them.

  • I lie to myself all the time. But I never believe me.

  • For peace of mind, I will lie about any thing at any time.

  • .. I don't lie; I improve on my life.

  • Lying is an occupation, / Used by all who mean to rise; / Politicians owe their station / But to well concerted lies. / ... / Study this superior science / Would you rise in Church or State; / Bid to truth a bold defiance; / 'Tis the practice of the great.

    • Letitia Pilkington,
    • "A Song," Memoirs of Mrs. Letitia Pilkington Written By Herself ()
  • A liar did ought to have a good memory.

  • You can lock up from a thief, but you can't from a liar.

  • There are lying looks, as well as lying words; dissembling smiles, deceiving signs, and even a lying silence.

  • ... the U.S. body politic can become septic when enough lies, distortions, and smears are relentlessly pumped into it. Millions of us now 'know' things that are not true ...

    • Marie Shear,
    • "What Ailes TV News?" The Freelancer ()
  • On the whole, lying is a cheerful affair. Embellishments are intended to give pleasure. People long to tell you what they imagine you want to hear. They want to amuse you; they want to amuse themselves; they want to show you a good time. This is beyond hospitality. This is art.

  • A lie to get out of something, or take an advantage for oneself, that’s one thing; but a lie to make life more interesting – well, that’s entirely different.

  • [On Lady Desborough:] She tells enough white lies to ice a wedding cake.

  • The problem with half-truths, I'm discovering, is that they are also half-lies.

  • I have never found a way to get what I wanted except by lies.

  • Every word / that comes out of Hitler's mouth / is a lie.