(little) white lie

(redirected from a little white lie)

(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." Sarah's the new whiz kid in accounting. She'll help you tackle the budget in no time.
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