27 Idioms for Lying: Expressions About Deceit


They are phrases or expressions that often have a hidden meaning beyond their words. These idioms can add a touch of color and intrigue to our conversations.

So, let’s dive into the world of idioms for lying and uncover their meanings and usage.

idioms for lying

What is an idiom for lying?

An idiom for lying is a phrase or expression that uses words related to dishonesty to convey a particular meaning. These idioms are used to describe situations where someone is not telling the truth or is trying to deceive others.

Let’s break down each idiom, provide its meaning, and use it in a sentence to help you understand how it works.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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What is a simile?

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Which of the following is a metaphor?

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“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

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The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

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IdiomMeaningExample Sentence
Pinocchio noseWhen someone’s nose grows like Pinocchio’s, it means they are telling a lie.When Sarah claimed she didn’t eat the last cookie, her Pinocchio nose gave her away.
Pulling the wool over someone’s eyesTo deceive or trick someone by concealing the truth.The salesman was pulling the wool over my eyes when he claimed the car had never been in an accident.
Telling a tall taleTo tell a story that is exaggerated or full of lies.Mark always tells a tall tale about his fishing adventures, making them sound more exciting than they are.
Talking with a forked tongueTo speak insincerely or say one thing while meaning another.Politicians are often accused of talking with a forked tongue to gain voters’ trust.
Lying through one’s teethTo tell an obvious lie without shame.Even with all the evidence against him, he kept lying through his teeth during the trial.
Spinning a yarnTo tell a long, imaginative, and often exaggerated story.Grandpa loved spinning a yarn about his adventures during the war, making us laugh with his tales.
Bending the truthTo distort or exaggerate the truth without fully lying.Jane had a habit of bending the truth when it came to her accomplishments.
Fudging the factsTo manipulate or distort facts to one’s advantage.The employee was caught fudging the facts on his resume to get the job.
Cooking the booksTo manipulate financial records or accounts to hide illegal activities.The CEO faced jail time for cooking the books to make the company’s finances look better than they were.
Blowing smokeTo deceive or distract someone with false information or flattery.The used car salesman was blowing smoke when he said the old car had never broken down.
Putting on a false frontTo pretend to be something or someone you are not.At the party, Sarah was putting on a false front, acting cheerful despite her troubles.
Having a poker faceTo have a facial expression that does not reveal one’s thoughts or emotions.Even when he was lying, he maintained a poker face that made it hard to tell if he was telling the truth.
Wearing a false smileTo smile insincerely or hide one’s true feelings.She wore a false smile at the family gathering, even though she was upset about something.
Selling a bill of goodsTo deceive someone by convincing them to buy something of little value.The salesman tried to sell us a bill of goods with the promise that the product would change our lives.
Painting a rosy pictureTo describe a situation in a way that makes it seem better than it actually is.The manager was painting a rosy picture of the company’s future, despite its financial struggles.
Winking and noddingTo communicate secretly or conspiratorially, often to deceive others.They were winking and nodding during the meeting, making secret plans to outsmart their competitors.
Weaving a web of deceitTo create a complex network of lies and deception.The con artist was skilled at weaving a web of deceit to defraud unsuspecting victims.
Playing fast and looseTo act recklessly or dishonestly, often without regard for the rules.The politician was playing fast and loose with campaign funds, leading to an investigation.
Keeping a straight faceTo maintain a serious facial expression, especially when telling a lie or a joke.She managed to keep a straight face while telling the absurd story to her friends.
Snowing someoneTo deceive or fool someone, often by using charm or charisma.The charismatic speaker was skilled at snowing the audience with his persuasive words.
Leading someone down the garden pathTo deceive or mislead someone by offering false hope or promises.The scammer led the elderly couple down the garden path, convincing them to invest in a fake business opportunity.
Playing the innocentTo act as if one is unaware of wrongdoing, often when caught in a lie.Despite the evidence, he kept playing the innocent, claiming he had no knowledge of the stolen items.
Making up a whopperTo tell an outrageous or unbelievable lie.He made up a whopper about meeting a famous celebrity at the grocery store, but no one believed him.
Putting on an actTo pretend or feign emotions or behavior for a specific purpose.She was putting on an act to gain sympathy from her classmates, even though she wasn’t really upset.
Feeding someone a lineTo deceive or manipulate someone by using persuasive or flattering words.The smooth-talking salesman was feeding the customer a line to convince them to buy the expensive car.
Laying it on thickTo exaggerate or overemphasize something, often to deceive or impress.She was laying it on thick when she described her achievements, making them sound grander than they were.
Pulling a fast oneTo deceive or trick someone, often by acting quickly or slyly.The street magician was skilled at pulling a fast one on unsuspecting spectators.

Lying is like a web of deceit, where each false statement weaves another layer of complexity and deception. For more comparisons to describe lying, you can visit this link: Similes for lying. And for a variety of metaphors related to lying, you can explore this link: Metaphors for lying.

Idioms for Lying

1. Pinocchio nose

Meaning: When someone’s nose grows like Pinocchio’s, it means they are telling a lie.

In a Sentence: When Sarah claimed she didn’t eat the last cookie, her Pinocchio nose gave her away.

2. Pulling the wool over someone’s eyes

Meaning: To deceive or trick someone by concealing the truth.

In a Sentence: The salesman was pulling the wool over my eyes when he claimed the car had never been in an accident.

3. Telling a tall tale

Meaning: To tell a story that is exaggerated or full of lies.

In a Sentence: Mark always tells a tall tale about his fishing adventures, making them sound more exciting than they are.

4. Talking with a forked tongue

Meaning: To speak insincerely or say one thing while meaning another.

In a Sentence: Politicians are often accused of talking with a forked tongue to gain voters’ trust.

5. Lying through one’s teeth

Meaning: To tell an obvious lie without shame.

In a Sentence: Even with all the evidence against him, he kept lying through his teeth during the trial.

6. Spinning a yarn

Meaning: To tell a long, imaginative, and often exaggerated story.

In a Sentence: Grandpa loved spinning a yarn about his adventures during the war, making us laugh with his tales.

7. Bending the truth

Meaning: To distort or exaggerate the truth without fully lying.

In a Sentence: Jane had a habit of bending the truth when it came to her accomplishments.

8. Fudging the facts

Meaning: To manipulate or distort facts to one’s advantage.

In a Sentence: The employee was caught fudging the facts on his resume to get the job.

9. Cooking the books

Meaning: To manipulate financial records or accounts to hide illegal activities.

In a Sentence: The CEO faced jail time for cooking the books to make the company’s finances look better than they were.

10. Blowing smoke

Meaning: To deceive or distract someone with false information or flattery.

In a Sentence: The used car salesman was blowing smoke when he said the old car had never broken down.

11. Putting on a false front

Meaning: To pretend to be something or someone you are not.

In a Sentence: At the party, Sarah was putting on a false front, acting cheerful despite her troubles.

12. Having a poker face

Meaning: To have a facial expression that does not reveal one’s thoughts or emotions.

In a Sentence: Even when he was lying, he maintained a poker face that made it hard to tell if he was telling the truth.

13. Wearing a false smile

Meaning: To smile insincerely or hide one’s true feelings.

In a Sentence: She wore a false smile at the family gathering, even though she was upset about something.

14. Selling a bill of goods

Meaning: To deceive someone by convincing them to buy something of little value.

In a Sentence: The salesman tried to sell us a bill of goods with the promise that the product would change our lives.

15. Painting a rosy picture

Meaning: To describe a situation in a way that makes it seem better than it actually is.

In a Sentence: The manager was painting a rosy picture of the company’s future, despite its financial struggles.

16. Winking and nodding

Meaning: To communicate secretly or conspiratorially, often to deceive others.

In a Sentence: They were winking and nodding during the meeting, making secret plans to outsmart their competitors.

17. Weaving a web of deceit

Meaning: To create a complex network of lies and deception.

In a Sentence: The con artist was skilled at weaving a web of deceit to defraud unsuspecting victims.

18. Playing fast and loose

Meaning: To act recklessly or dishonestly, often without regard for the rules.

In a Sentence: The politician was playing fast and loose with campaign funds, leading to an investigation.

19. Keeping a straight face

Meaning: To maintain a serious facial expression, especially when telling a lie or a joke.

In a Sentence: She managed to keep a straight face while telling the absurd story to her friends.

20. Snowing someone

Meaning: To deceive or fool someone, often by using charm or charisma.

In a Sentence: The charismatic speaker was skilled at snowing the audience with his persuasive words.

21. Leading someone down the garden path

Meaning: To deceive or mislead someone by offering false hope or promises.

In a Sentence: The scammer led the elderly couple down the garden path, convincing them to invest in a fake business opportunity.

22. Playing the innocent

Meaning: To act as if one is unaware of wrongdoing, often when caught in a lie.

In a Sentence: Despite the evidence, he kept playing the innocent, claiming he had no knowledge of the stolen items.

23. Making up a whopper

Meaning: To tell an outrageous or unbelievable lie.

In a Sentence: He made up a whopper about meeting a famous celebrity at the grocery store, but no one believed him.

24. Putting on an act

Meaning: To pretend or feign emotions or behavior for a specific purpose.

In a Sentence: She was putting on an act to gain sympathy from her classmates, even though she wasn’t really upset.

25. Feeding someone a line

Meaning: To deceive or manipulate someone by using persuasive or flattering words.

In a Sentence: The smooth-talking salesman was feeding the customer a line to convince them to buy the expensive car.

26. Laying it on thick

Meaning: To exaggerate or overemphasize something, often to deceive or impress.

In a Sentence: She was laying it on thick when she described her achievements, making them sound grander than they were.

27. Pulling a fast one

Meaning: To deceive or trick someone, often by acting quickly or slyly.

In a Sentence: The street magician was skilled at pulling a fast one on unsuspecting spectators.

Quizzes About The Idioms in The Article

Here are 10 quiz questions about the idioms for lying discussed in the article:

Quiz 1:

  1. What does the idiom “Telling a tall tale” mean?
  • a) Telling a short story
  • b) Telling a story that is exaggerated or full of lies
  • c) Telling a boring story

Quiz 2:

  1. What is the meaning of “Playing fast and loose”?
  • a) Playing a game quickly
  • b) Acting recklessly or dishonestly, often without regard for the rules
  • c) Playing a musical instrument skillfully

Quiz 3:

  1. Which idiom involves “Wearing a false smile”?
  • a) Smiling genuinely
  • b) Smiling insincerely or hiding one’s true feelings
  • c) Smiling with joy

Quiz 4:

  1. What does the expression “Putting on an act” refer to?
  • a) Performing in a theater play
  • b) Pretending or feigning emotions or behavior for a specific purpose
  • c) Being genuine and honest

Quiz 5:

  1. Which idiom is related to “Keeping a straight face”?
  • a) Maintaining a serious facial expression, especially when telling a lie or a joke
  • b) Making funny faces
  • c) Changing facial expressions frequently

Quiz 6:

  1. What does “Feeding someone a line” mean?
  • a) Giving someone food
  • b) Deceiving or manipulating someone by using persuasive or flattering words
  • c) Sharing a secret with someone

Quiz 7:

  1. Which idiom involves “Laying it on thick”?
  • a) Making a situation worse
  • b) Exaggerating or overemphasizing something, often to deceive or impress
  • c) Being straightforward and honest

Quiz 8:

  1. What is the meaning of “Blowing smoke”?
  • a) Creating a windstorm
  • b) Deceiving or distracting someone with false information or flattery
  • c) Extinguishing a fire

Quiz 9:

  1. Which idiom refers to “Playing the innocent”?
  • a) Pretending to be unaware of wrongdoing, often when caught in a lie
  • b) Being genuinely innocent
  • c) Playing a board game

Quiz 10:

  1. What does the expression “Putting on a false front” mean?
    • a) Building a fake wall
    • b) Pretending to be something or someone you are not
    • c) Being honest and open about one’s feelings

Answers:

  1. b) Telling a story that is exaggerated or full of lies
  2. b) Acting recklessly or dishonestly, often without regard for the rules
  3. b) Smiling insincerely or hiding one’s true feelings
  4. b) Pretending or feigning emotions or behavior for a specific purpose
  5. a) Maintaining a serious facial expression, especially when telling a lie or a joke
  6. b) Deceiving or manipulating someone by using persuasive or flattering words
  7. b) Exaggerating or overemphasizing something, often to deceive or impress
  8. b) Deceiving or distracting someone with false information or flattery
  9. a) Pretending to be unaware of wrongdoing, often when caught in a lie
  10. b) Pretending to be something or someone you are not

Conclusion

Idioms for lying can be fun and colorful ways to describe situations involving deception. They add depth and humor to our language while allowing us to convey complex ideas about honesty and dishonesty.

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