(little) white lie

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(little) white lie

A lie thought to be insignificant and justified, especially one told to avoid hurting someone's feelings or giving offense. I try to be honest most of the time, but I do tell white lies when I'm worried about upsetting people. A: "Do you actually like her new haircut?" B: "Of course not, but I couldn't tell her that, so I told a little white lie instead."
See also: lie, white

little white lie

Fig. a small, usually harmless lie; a fib. Every little white lie you tell is still a lie and it is still meant to mislead people.
See also: lie, little, white

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]
See also: lie, white

a white lie

If you tell a white lie, you say something which is untrue, often in order to protect someone or to avoid upsetting someone. I said she looked nice, thinking it kinder to tell a white lie. I believe that this is a case where a little white lie is really more appropriate than the truth.
See also: lie, white

a white ˈlie

a small or harmless lie that you tell to avoid hurting somebody: When she asked me if I liked her new dress I had to tell a white lie. I thought it looked awful, but I couldn’t say so!
See also: lie, white
References in periodicals archive ?
A cross between early Woody Allen and Mike Leigh-on-tour, Little White Lies might even bring a lump to your throat at the end.
When you're living in an age with a disease like this, those little white lies are very important," he continued.
The premise of Little White Lies is difficult to believe, and the end seems rushed.
Brunette and blue-eyed Jonathan, preparing for the London premiere of his film Little White Lies, loved every minute of his latest adventure.
Disney's first fully computer- animated feature film puts a modern twist on the timeless fable about a little bird whose predilection for telling little white lies gets him into serious trouble.
Disney's first fully computer-animated feature film has plenty to cluck about as it puts a modern twist on the old story about a little bird who gets into serious trouble for telling little white lies.
The online jobs specialist also reveals that UK workers don't stop at little white lies.
A light, entertaining look at the escalating effect of little white lies.
Little White Lies by Lesley Lokko This book follows the lives of three best friends from school - Annick, who has a mysterious past, Rebecca, from old money, and Tash, who always feels the poor relation and has a steely determination to succeed.
The little white lies keep on coming and Maggie and Michael pose as Danny's fake children then his demented cousin Eddie (Nick Swardson) adopts the guise of Katherine's WHITE LIES Adam Sandler sheep farmer boyfriend.
The Bafta Cymru award winning film Little White Lies, which she wrote and stars in, is now topping an internet vote for distribution and a $1m prize.
But the rangers will also tell some little white lies and it's up to visitors to spot what is false and what is true.
Ian, 48, from Hertfordshire, wrote thriller Little White Lies five years ago.
It could be argued that these little white lies simply make the world go round a little more smoothly.
Tony Whittaker's CD, Shear Magic, includes the hits Lullaby of Birdland, East of the Sun (West of the Moon), September in the Rain, Unforgettable, The Continental, Little White Lies and This Can't Be Love.