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white lie

noun
1.
a minor, polite, or harmless lie; fib.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for white lie
Historical Examples
  • She could not bring herself to speak a lie to him, not even a white lie!

    The White Lie William Le Queux
  • So he invented a white lie, and 88 nobody questioned it because of his uniform.

    The Pagan Madonna Harold MacGrath
  • If the white lie ceases in married life, the couple drifts apart.

    Moral Ludwig Thoma
  • This was a white lie, but he considered it admissible in his friend's behalf.

    They Looked and Loved Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
  • "I beg pardon, Captain," he said, to which he added a white lie.

  • He forgave her for what he was pleased to call, in his mind, the white lie of her comfort.

    Ann Arbor Tales Karl Edwin Harriman
  • A white lie today, tomorrow a blacker one, each leading to another.

    Wanderers Knut Hamsun
  • The Jesuits, say their opponents, teach that at times a "white lie" is permissible.

  • She felt that Maud's curiosity was such that it justified a white lie.

    By the Light of the Soul Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • What is the harm of such a white lie as that would have been?

British Dictionary definitions for white lie

white lie

noun
1.
a minor or unimportant lie, esp one uttered in the interests of tact or politeness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with white lie

white lie

An untruth told to spare feelings or from politeness, as in She asked if I liked her dress, and of course I told a white lie. This term uses white in the sense of “harmless.” [ First half of 1700s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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