White lie

Idiom

White lie

Definition

A statement that is not entirely true, but is intended to protect someone’s feelings or maintain a polite social atmosphere.

Examples

I told him that I already had plans for the weekend, which was a white lie.

I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so I told her a white lie about why I couldn’t come over.

My grandmother always tells white lies to make people feel better.

I was caught in a tough situation, so I had to tell a white lie to get out of it.

He knew I was lying, but he let it go because it was only a white lie.

Origin

Believed to have been in use since the 1700s.

FAQs

Question

Is it okay to tell a white lie?

Answer

While it is sometimes necessary to tell a white lie to protect someone’s feelings, it is important to be aware of the consequences of lying and to be honest whenever possible.