white lie

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white lie (plural white lies)

  1. (idiomatic) A deliberate, untrue statement which is intended to produce a favorable result.
    • 1861, George Eliot [pseudonym; Mary Ann Evans], Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe, Edinburgh; London: William Blackwood and Sons, OCLC 457563123, part I, page 239:
      The prevarication and white lies which a mind that keeps itself ambitiously pure is as uneasy under as a great artist under the false touches that no eye detects but his own, are worn as lightly as mere trimmings when once the actions have become a lie.
    • 2008 July 15, Jacqueline Stenson, "The Whole Truth: When is it okay to lie to your kids?," Newsweek (retrieved 14 Sept 2017):
      An occasional little white lie such as Weston's probably won't cause any lasting damage. And at times, telling the truth—particularly the whole truth to a child who's not at an age to handle it—may do more harm than good, they say.
    • 2012, “Super Rich Kids”, in channel Orange, performed by Frank Ocean ft. Earl Sweatshirt:
      Too many joy rides in daddy's Jaguar / Too many white lies and white lines