C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Falsehood is cowardice.

Hosea Ballou.

Falsehood is so easy, truth so difficult.

George Eliot.

Falsehood is for a season.


Falsehood always endeavors to copy the mien and attitude of truth.

Dr. Johnson.

Falsehood and death are synonymous.


Past all shame, so past all truth.


O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!


A lie never lives to be old.


The crime of cowards.

Dr. Johnson.

False as the fowler’s artful snare.


This shows that liars ought to have good memories.

Algernon Sidney.

  • And, after all, what is a lie? ’Tis but
  • The truth in masquerade.
  • Byron.

  • Who dares think one thing, and another tell,
  • My heart detests him as the gates of hell.
  • Homer.

  • Falsehood and fraud shoot up in every soil
  • The product of all climes.
  • Addison.

    For my part, if a lie may do thee grace, I’ll gild it with the happiest terms I have.


    Let a man be ne’er so wise, he may be caught with sober lies.


    False modesty is the most decent of all falsehoods.


    Falsehoods which we spurn to-day were the truths of long ago.


  • And none speaks false, when there is none to hear.
  • Beattie.

    Cottages have them (falsehood and dissimulation) as well as courts, only with worse manners.

    Lord Chesterfield.

    For no falsehood can endure touch of celestial temper, but returns of force to its own likeness.


    There is no such thing as white lies: a lie is as black as a coal-pit, and twice as foul.


    The dull flat falsehood serves for policy, and in the cunning, truth’s itself a lie.


    Where fraud and falsehood invade society, the band presently breaks.


    These lies are like the father that begets them; gross as a mountain, open, palpable.


    Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.

    O. W. Holmes.

  • Money and man a mutual falsehood show,
  • Men make false money,—money makes men so.
  • Aleyn.

    Dissembling profiteth nothing; a feigned countenance, and slightly forged externally, deceiveth but very few.


    It is not without good reason said, that he who has not a good memory should never take upon him the trade of lying.


    Falsehood is often rocked by truth; but she soon outgrows her cradle and discards her nurse.


    It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying that there is so much falsehood in the world.


    Falsehood, like the dry-rot, flourishes the more in proportion as air and light are excluded.


    Every lie, great or small, is the brink of a precipice, the depth of which nothing but omniscience can fathom.


    I have seldom known any one who deserted truth in trifles that could be trusted in matters of importance.


    Falsehoods not only disagree with truths, but usually quarrel among themselves.

    Daniel Webster.

    Falsehood avails itself of haste and uncertainty.


    Large offers and sturdy rejections are among the most common topics of falsehood.


    Wisdom and truth, the offspring of the sky, are immortal; while cunning and deception, the meteors of the earth, after glittering for a moment, must pass away.

    Robert Hall.

    To lapse in fulness is sorer than to lie for need; and falsehood is worse in kings than beggars.


    A liar would be brave toward God, while he is a coward toward men; for a lie faces God, and shrinks from man.


    The first great requisite is absolute sincerity. Falsehood and disguise are miseries and misery-makers.


    If an ingenuous detestation of falsehood be but carefully and early instilled, that is the true and genuine method to obviate dishonesty.


    Every breach of veracity indicates some latent vice or some criminal intention, which the individual is ashamed to avow.

    Dugald Stewart.

    To tell a falsehood is like the cut of a sabre; for though the wound may heal, the scar of it will remain.


    Dissimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age; its first appearance is the fatal omen of growing depravity and future shame.


    Lie not, neither to thyself nor men nor God. Let mouth and heart be one—beat and speak together, and make both felt in action. If is for cowards to lie.

    George Herbert.

    A lie should be trampled on and extinguished wherever found. I am for fumigating the atmosphere when I suspect that falsehood, like pestilence, breathes around me.


    Not the least misfortune in a prominent falsehood is the fact that tradition is apt to repeat it for truth.

    Hosea Ballou.

    The gain of lying is nothing else but not to be trusted of any, nor to be believed when we speak the truth.

    Sir Walter Raleigh.

    He who tells a lie is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.


    A few men are sufficient to broach falsehoods, which are afterwards innocently diffused by successive relaters.


    Falsehood, like poison, will generally be rejected when administered alone; but when blended with wholesome ingredients, may be swallowed unperceived.


    Falsehood is susceptible of an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being.


    Dissimulation is but a faint kind of policy or wisdom; for it asketh a strong wit and a strong heart to know when to tell truth, and to do it.


    There is often seen this anomaly in women, especially in those of childish natures,—that they possess at once great promptness and unskilfulness in falsehood.


    Round dealing is the honor of man’s nature; and a mixture of falsehood is like alloy in gold and silver, which may make the metal work the better, but it embaseth it.


    Woe to falsehood! it affords no relief to the breast, like truth; it gives us no comfort, pains him who forges it, and like an arrow directed by a god flies back and wounds the archer.


    When a man has once forfeited the reputation of his integrity, he is set fast, and nothing will then serve his turn, neither truth nor falsehood.


    Nothing gives such a blow to friendship as the detecting another in an untruth. It strikes at the root of our confidence ever after.


    Although the Devil be the father of lies, he seems, like other great inventors, to have lost much of his reputation by the continual improvements that have been made upon him.


    If there were no falsehood in the world, there would be no doubt; if there were no doubt, there would be no inquiry; if no inquiry, no wisdom, no knowledge, no genius.


    Habitual liars invent falsehoods not to gain any end or even to deceive their hearers, but to amuse themselves. It is partly practice and partly habit. It requires an effort in them to speak truth.


    Start a lie and a truth together, like hare and hound: the lie will run fast and smooth, and no man will ever turn it aside; but at the truth most hands will fling a stone, and so hinder it for sport’s sake, if they can.


  • What wit so sharp is found in age or youth,
  • That can distinguish truth from treachery?
  • Falsehood puts on the face of simple truth,
  • And masks i’ th’ habit of plain honesty,
  • When she in heart intends most villany.
  • Mirror for Magistrates.

    Falsehood is fire in stubble; it likewise turns all the light stuff around it into its own substance for a moment, one crackling blazing moment, and then dies; and all its converts are scattered in the wind, without place or evidence of their existence, as viewless as the wind which scatters them.


  • That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies;
  • That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright—
  • But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.
  • Tennyson.

    Figures themselves, in their symmetrical and inexorable order, have their mistakes like words and speeches. An hour of pleasure and an hour of pain are alike only on the dial in their numerical arrangement. Outside the dial they lie sixty times.


    Falsehood is difficult to be maintained. When the materials of a building are solid blocks of stone, very rude architecture will suffice; but a structure of rotten materials needs the most careful adjustment to make it stand at all.


    Falsehood is never so successful as when she baits her hook with truth, and no opinions so fatally mislead us as those that are not wholly wrong, as no watches so effectually deceive the wearer as those that are sometimes right.


    There is a set of harmless liars, frequently to be met with in company, who deal much in the marvellous. Their usual intention is to please and entertain; but as men are most delighted with what they conceive to be the truth, these people mistake the means of pleasing, and incur universal blame.


  • How false are men, both in their heads and hearts;
  • And there is falsehood in all trades and arts.
  • Lawyers deceive their clients by false law;
  • Priests, by false gods, keep all the world in awe,
  • For their false tongues such flatt’ring knaves are rais’d,
  • For their false wit, scribblers by fools are prais’d.
  • Crown.

  • Let falsehood be a stranger to thy lips;
  • Shame on the policy that first began
  • To tamper with the heart to hide its thoughts!
  • And doubly shame on that inglorious tongue,
  • That sold its honesty and told a lie.
  • Havard.

    Whatever convenience may be thought to be in falsehood and dissimulation, it is soon over; but the inconvenience of it is perpetual, because t brings a man under everlasting jealousy and suspicion, so that he is not believed when he speaks the truth, nor trusted when perhaps he means honesty.


    Falsehood, like a drawing in perspective, will not bear to be examined in every point of view, because it is a good imitation of truth, as a perspective is of the reality, only in one. But truth, like that reality of which the perspective is the representation, will bear to be scrutinized in all points of view, and though examined under every situation, is one and the same.