big lie

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See also: biglie and Big Lie


Alternative forms[edit]


Reportedly from a remark by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, that a big lie is more likely to be believed than a small lie.


big lie (plural big lies)

  1. (often politics or public policy, often preceded by the) The policy or practice of insistently making a false claim which is so emphatic and grandiose that listeners and readers will reckon that the claim must be true because no one would dare to fabricate something so forceful and extravagant; a false claim produced by the application of this policy or practice.
    • 1981 March 11, Robert Lindsey, quoting Lewis Brandon, “Auschwitz survivor sues for prize for proving Germans gassed Jews”, in New York Times[1]:
      In an interview, Lewis Brandon, the institute's director, said of reports of the Holocaust: “It's a myth, using the big lie technique, perpetrated solely to give the Zionists a shield against criticism of Israel and to justify massive American aid to Israel.”
    • 2008 February 23, Howard Jacobson, “Why mock the expectation of beauty in art?”, in The Independent[2], retrieved 17 July 2014:
      This is the big lie of contemporary art: not nothing being passed off as something, but the make-believe that the division between high and low has been destroyed and that we're all now capable of being artists.
    • 2011 December 24, Joe Nocera, “The Big Lie”, in The New York Times[3], ISSN 0362-4331:
      When other panel members, after inspecting your evidence, reject your thesis, you claim that they did so for ideological reasons. [] Soon, the echo chamber you created drowns out dissenting views; even presidential candidates begin repeating the Big Lie.
    • 2012 February 1, “Afghanistan: the big lie”, in The Guardian[4], retrieved 17 July 2014:
      Joseph Goebbels said that if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The big lie told repeatedly about the war in Afghanistan is that the international security assistance force (Isaf) and the Afghan national security forces are pushing the Taliban back.
    • 2015, Jesse Cohn, Underground Passages[5], AK Press, →ISBN:
      For Henry Poulaille, cinemas were the vendors par excellence of modern capitalism’s big lie, the “fantasy of a redistribution of wealth,” of upward mobility []
    • 2020, John Bolton, The Room Where It Happened[6], Simon & Schuster, →ISBN:
      First, we must do everything possible to ensure that China, and its contemporaneous disinformation campaign about the origin of the virus, will not succeed in proving that the Big Lie technique is alive and well in the twenty-first century.
    • 2021 January 16, Melissa Block, quoting Joe Biden, “Can The Forces Unleashed By Trump's Big Election Lie Be Undone?”, in NPR[7]:
      "I think the American public has a real good, clear look at who they are," Biden told reporters two days after the Capitol was attacked. "They're part of the big lie, the big lie."
    • 2021 May 8, Maureen Dowd, “Liz Cheney and the Big Lies”, in The New York Times[8], ISSN 0362-4331:
      Let’s acknowledge who created the template for Trump’s Big Lie. It was her father, Dick Cheney, whose Big Lie about the Iraq war led to the worst mistake in the history of American foreign policy.

Further reading[edit]