There’s nothing unusual about the word “lying” but a delightful article by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary discusses words which mean almost the same thing. As a lover of words, I offer it here in abbreviated form.

Palter: to act insincerely or deceitfully
The word has had various meanings but, now, according to the Harvard Gazette, “Paltering is when a communicator says truthful things and in the process knowingly leads the listener to a false conclusion. It has the same effect as lying, but it allows the communicator to say truthful things and often feel like they’re not being as deceptive as liars.” 

Dissemble: to hide under a false appearance
Dissemble came to English ultimately from the Latin word dissimulare (“to conceal“ or “to disguise”). In many contexts today, dissemble is used as a near-synonym of “to lie.”

Prevaricate: to avoid telling the truth by not directly answering a question
One meaning is “to collude” — specifically, for an advocate to conspire with his opponent in order to secure a particular outcome in a trial. Like many legalistic words, prevaricate contrasts with the monosyllabic Germanic word lie by adding subtle connotations of evading the truth rather than telling an outright falsehood—a lawyer’s trick.

Mendacious: likely to tell lies
Probably the best fancy way to describe a liar is mendacious. Latin words sound technical compared to Germanic words: interrogate (ask); perceive (see); cogitate (think). Mendacious comes from the Latin word mendax, meaning “lying” or “false.”

Fib: a trivial or childish lie
Fib is a less serious version of lie, often used when referring to children or what we call “white lies.”

Equivocate: to use unclear language especially to deceive or mislead someone
Equivocate means “to use words that have more than one sense in order to say one thing while actually meaning another.” Commonly used about politicians.

Perjure. Perjury: to tell a lie under oath
To perjure yourself is to tell what is false when you are sworn to tell the truth. “Forswear” has a parallel meaning. But forswear is more commonly used in a different way, to mean “to promise to give up (something),” as in “He said he would forswear cigarettes.”

We offer two possible meanings for the word (“a statement that is only partially true” and “a statement that mingles truth and falsehood with deliberate intent to deceive”), so if one doesn’t quite work for you just say that you meant the other.

Ananias: a teller of untruths
Ananias is the name of an early Christian who was struck dead for lying. If you would prefer a fancy liar word without biblical reference you may instead go with pseudologist.

Fabulist: a teller of tales
A fabulist may refer to one of several people; “a writer of fables especially that carry a moral lesson (Aesop),” “a professional teller of tales” (now obsolete), and “an inventor of falsehoods” (liar). The first of these meanings is the oldest, dating back to the 1500s.

The Merriam-Webster article is well worth reading. Now, would I lie to you?


  One thought on “lying

  1. April 14, 2021 at 7:22 pm

    Palter and Ananias were new to me. Thanks, Lea!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leanne Taylor
      April 16, 2021 at 3:45 am

      Yes, thank you, Lea!

      This reminds me of why I avoid lawyers, politic/ians, and real estate agents … if possible.

      And no, Lea, “you” wouldn’t lie to us.

      Liked by 2 people

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