tell a (little) white lie

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tell a (little) white lie

To tell a seemingly small, insignificant, or harmless lie, often presumably in order not to offend or upset someone. I knew Jenny would be upset if she knew I didn't want go to the movies with her tomorrow, so I just told her a white lie about having to take care of my elderly grandmother. Don't get into the habit of telling little white lies, or, pretty soon, you'll start telling big, fat, ugly ones.
See also: lie, tell, white
References in periodicals archive ?
Linda points out, however, that care needs to be taken when parents tell a white lie - the one about fruit seeds growing inside their bodies if they eat them, for example, could scare them and be construed as bullying.