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


The truth in masquerade.


Liars are verbal forgers.


Past all shame, so past all truth.


Lies can destroy, but not create.


A good memory is needed once we have lied.


Lies exist only to be extinguished.


It is not right or manly to lie even about Satan.

James A. Garfield.

None but cowards lie.


Lying’s a certain mark of cowardice.


Lying, like license, has its degrees.

George Sand.

Be sure no lie can ever reach old age.


A liar is a bravo towards God and a coward towards men.


A lie that is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies.


He will lie, sir, with such volubility that you would think truth were a fool.


There are people who lie simply for the sake of lying.


Do the devils lie? No; for then even hell could not subsist.

Sir T. Browne.

Lord, Lord, how this world is given to lying!


A lie is the abandonment and, as it were, the annihilation of the dignity of man.


A lie is like a vizard, that may cover the face indeed, but can never become it.


He who has not a good memory should never take upon him the trade of lying.


Liars are the cause of all the sins and crimes in the world.


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


A lie has no legs, and cannot stand; but it has wings, and can fly far and wide.


Lying is the strongest acknowledgement of the force of truth.


The most mischievous liars are those who keep sliding on the verge of truth.

J. C. and A. W. Hare.

Even a liar tells a hundred truths to one lie: he has to, to make the lie good for anything.

Henry Ward Beecher.

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

Sir Walter Raleigh.

The most intangible, and therefore the worst, kind of a lie is a half truth. This is the peculiar device of a “conscientious” detractor.

Washington Allston.

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


When thou art obliged to speak, be sure to speak the truth; for equivocation is half-way to lying, and lying is the whole way to hell.

William Penn.

They begin with making falsehood appear like truth, and end with making truth itself appear like falsehood.


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.


No villainy or flagitious action was ever yet committed but, upon a due inquiry into the cause of it, it will be found that a lie was first or last the principal engine to effect it.


Our opinions are not our own, but in the power of sympathy. If a person tells us a palpable falsehood, we not only dare not contradict him, but we dare hardly disbelieve him to his face. A lie boldly uttered has the effect of truth for the instant.


A lie always needs a truth for a handle to it. The worst lies are those whose blade is false, but whose handle is true.

Henry Ward Beecher.

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 the truth.


After a tongue has once got the knack of lying, it is not to be imagined how impossible almost it is to reclaim it. Whence it comes to pass, that we see some men, who are otherwise very honest, so subject to this vice.


A lie is a very short wick in a very small lamp. The oil of reputation is very soon sucked up and gone. And just as soon as a man is known to lie, he is like a two-foot pump in a hundred-foot well. He cannot touch bottom at all.

Henry Ward Beecher.

It is a hard matter for a man to lie all over, nature having provided king’s evidence in almost every member. The hand will sometimes act as a vane, to show which way the wind blows, even when every feature is set the other way; the knees smite together and sound the alarm of fear under a fierce countenance; the legs shake with anger when all above is calm.

Washington Allston.

Lying is a disgraceful vice, and one that Plutarch paints in most disgraceful colors, when he says that it is “affording testimony that one first despises God, and then fears men.” It is not possible more happily to describe its horrible, disgusting, and abandoned nature; for can we imagine anything more vile than to be cowards with regard to men, and brave with regard to God.


All lies disgrace a gentleman, white or black, although I grant there is a difference. To say the least of it, it is a dangerous habit, for white lies are but the gentlemen ushers to black ones. I know of but one point on which a lie is excusable, and that it, when you wish to deceive the enemy. Then, your duty to your country warrants your lying till you are black in the face; and, for the very reason that it goes against your grain, it becomes, as it were, a sort of virtue.