a polite fiction

(redirected from Polite fiction)
Also found in: Wikipedia.

a polite fiction

A general untruth or falsehood that is accepted in place of the truth to maintain politeness, civility, or stability among a given social group. Our parents' marriage was just a polite fiction in our household up until my youngest sister was off to college. By the time the military junta overthrew the dictatorship, the promise of democratic rule was little more than a polite fiction among the citizens of the country.
See also: fiction
References in classic literature ?
Peggotty to understand that she was as jolly as I could wish, and that she desired her compliments - which was a polite fiction on my part.
I'm in favour of Southern womanhood as much as anybody," Atticus has told his sister, "but not for preserving polite fiction at the expense of human life.
In the United States, we endure the polite fiction that the USN's 45,000 ton aircraft carriers are not aircraft carriers, but rather some other kind of creature.
As we've reported in the past, this was never more than a polite fiction, possibly adopted to placate Liberal Democrats who have their doubts about the mayor policy.
Another, and less optimistic, belief is that almost all indigent defendants are guilty, if not of the offense charged, then of something else, and that the real business of the court system is the administrative task of allocating punishments while maintaining a polite fiction of concern for defendants' rights.
From its 108 acres, the Holy See busies itself around the world based on the polite fiction that it constitutes a state worthy to play with the big boys.
To an extent it is because - although one suspects this is a bit of a polite fiction - connections still 'prefer to concentrate on targets at home'; but the real truth is that for most of these events, we simply do not have the horses worth sending.
The Kizilbash, who had worshipped Isma'il as the manifestation of God, began to show clearly that, although they preserved the outward forms, they considered the concept of their leader as an immortal and infallible, to be a polite fiction.
The notion that our 90 city councillors "run" Liverpool is a polite fiction.
Nor did I realize that "the problem's with your receiver" was simply another polite fiction.
The Kizilbash, who had worshipped Ismail as the manifestation of God, began to show clearly that, although they preserved the outward forms, they considered the concept of their leader as an immortal and infallible, to be a polite fiction.
The polite fiction is that even where only two or three are gathered in profit's name, competition remains.
So why do reporters and commentators maintain the polite fiction that Formula 1 is solely about the skill of the drivers and engineers, and that the crashes and deaths are just an unfortunate by-product, when in fact they're central to the sport's popularity?
This polite fiction was blown apart by Deputy PM John Prescott, who so wanted to be taken seriously that he gave a speech full of mind-numbing New Labour phrases.