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a white lie

Meaning: If you tell a white lie, you say something that isn't true in order to be polite or so as not to hurt someone's feelings.

For example:

  • Sometimes it's better to tell a white lie than to tell someone a painful truth.

  • I really didn't want to go to my boss's dinner party, so I told a white lie and said I had to go to a friend's wedding party that night.

Quick Quiz:

Jack asked me how he looked after his operation, so I told a white lie and said
  1. he looked great
  2. he looked terrible
  3. I'd gone blind and I couldn't see him

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