a polite fiction

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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 ?
The collie listened, with his wise head on one side; he grinned when she described the polite gentleman with sandy whiskers.
Let it be something very polite indeed," said Valentin.
The polite captain had looked so stern while packing up his kit that Therese dared not speak to him at all.
I meet a great many Americans, who, as a general thing, I must say, are not as polite to me as the people over here.
Then they saw the French Rolls, who were very polite to them, and made a brief call upon the Parker H.
The first thing in the morning I sent a polite note to Gentleman Jones, informing him that I had abandoned all idea of exhibiting his likeness to the public in my series of prints, and giving him full permission to inspect every design I made before it went out of the prison.
Answering for the child, and wondering what Henry's object could possibly be, Agnes mentioned the polite sacrifice made to her convenience by Mrs.
Here the servant paused, and opening the door said with polite deference:
She raised her eyes for a moment to mine, and took refuge, poor soul, in a conventionally polite inquiry after my health.
You will want some refreshment after our long journey," said the polite Town Mouse, and took his friend into the grand dining-room.
If she would be as she was when I first knew her, I should love her just the same; but she is n't kind to me; and though she is always talking about politeness, I don't think it is polite to treat company as she does me.
Major Fitz-David lifted his well-painted eyebrows in polite surprise.
C-c-l-y:--No, it is not polite to use "Holy Moses" or "dodgasted" in ordinary conversation.
Geoffrey rewarded him for his polite forbearance by knocking him down.
When we return in the morning, we hope you'll be polite enough to let us find you dead and gone and with your mouth wide open.