(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 ?
Suzie says: "It's easy to smile at some of the fibs and white lies - the ice cream van one, or the one about making your hair curl or eyes improve by eating Suzie says: "It's easy to smile at some of the fibs and white lies - the ice cream van one, or the one about making your hair curl or eyes improve by eating carrots.
Adapted from Witi Ihimaera's novella Medicine Woman by writer/director Dana Rotberg, with Jo Johnson and Timothy Balme contributing to the script's development, White Lies inspires more lines of enquiry than it can answer --but its dedication to asking and attempting to understand is always apparent.
As an example, when participants in the no-lie group told three fewer white lies than they did in other weeks, they experienced, on average, about four fewer mental-health complaints and about three fewer physical complaints.
Candid and unflinchingly real, White Lies, Black Blood shows what happens when everything one thought was true about race and ancestry is found to be astoundingly fictitious.
Half-truths And White Lies is a story of love, betrayal and sacrifice.
Though technically telling a white lie is deceitful, this approach is personal and respectful, Keller explains.
In White Lies and Barefaced Truths Cat is dared to talk to Ollie, Lia's gorgeous brother, on behalf of Becca, who is too shy to talk to him herself and has a secret crush on Ollie.
White Lies, White Power began as a series of essays in the journal, leading to some confusing gaps in coverage and an unremitting tone, suitable for short articles but which I found tiring in book length.
WHITE Lies uncovered a treasure trove of Roxy Music memorabilia when they worked on their new album at Bryan Ferry's private recording studio.
Seventeen-year-old overachiever Coretta White begins a blog, Little White Lies, based on breakfast conversations with her parents.
COMING UK band White Lies have been confirmed as the first support act to play alongside Kings of Leon at their concert at St James' Park this summer.
After coming seventh a few years ago, White Lies approached Kagan wanting to use his painting Pilot 2 depicting a man in a space suit for their latest release.
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.