Where Did The Phrase "Little White Lie" Originate?


3 Answers

Ruth Campbell Profile
Ruth Campbell answered
White lie:  A minor, polite, or harmless lie, fib.
White has the connotation of being good whereas black has the connotation of being evil.  This is indeed somewhat racist but nevertheless it's the way the language evolved.
A white lie can be excused because it does not cause great harm.  For instance, if you don't want to see your friend one day, you tell them you aren't feeling well to avoid telling them the truth, that you just don't want to see them that day.  The little white lie hurts no one and sometimes avoids hurt feelings.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Little white lie came from lambs that were white!!!!
Rajesh Shri Profile
Rajesh Shri answered
It is ironical to try and understand an expression like 'a little white lie'. A lie is a falsehood, white or black or coloured. That which is not the truth cannot be considered half the truth or a 'cover up'. The phrase was probably used by someone to 'clean up' or undo that which was answerable.

The use of 'white' in the expression is an indication that the person who came up with the phrase was also one who knew his vocabulary. The second point to consider is that no lie is 'little'. Little or big, a lie remains a lie.

The earliest use of the phrase could also be the work of someone who is consistently in the news. The reason behind this conclusion is that the media is known to lap up such propaganda and market it over a period of time.

The use was probably meant for a 'cover up' for something that would expose someone in authority to the public scanner. 'A little white lie' is a great way of saying 'It was not meant to cause any deliberate harm. It was simply something that had to be uttered to avoid cynical glare'. No falsehood can be covered up under the garb of such a phrase.

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