false light

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false light (countable and uncountable, plural false lights)

  1. (idiomatic, countable) A point of view resulting in a misleading or inaccurate representation of a person, situation, or fact.
    • 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne, chapter 11, in The Scarlet Letter:
      To the untrue man, the whole universe is false—it is impalpable—it shrinks to nothing within his grasp. And he himself in so far as he shows himself in a false light, becomes a shadow.
    • 1883, George MacDonald, chapter 58, in Donal Grant:
      It was not I, but these things working in me—on my brain, making me see things in a false light!
    • 1920, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, chapter 13, in The New Jerusalem:
      Some of the charges against them . . . are due merely to the false light in which they are regarded.
    • 2013 April 6, Richard A. Oppel Jr, "Taping of Farm Cruelty Is Becoming the Crime," New York Times (retrieved 22 May 2015):
      Don Lehe, a Republican state representative from a rural district in Indiana, said online videos can cast farmers in a false light and give them little opportunity to correct the record.
  2. (law, uncountable) A cause of action arising under the common law where a person is portrayed in a way which, while not technically false, is misleading and likely to cause embarrassment to that person.
    • 2015 May 20, "Model Janice Dickinson Sues Bill Cosby For Defamation," CBS Los Angeles (retrieved 22 May 2015):
      Dickinson’s lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court seeks unspecified damages on defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims.