“Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind.” ~Austin O’Malley
Most people, even those who insist they would never tell a lie, have told a white lie. White lies are the little, untruthful things we say in an effort to save someone’s feelings, to avoid a trivial but sticky situation, or simply to be polite.
White lies are often employed in relationships, and many a man has relied on the white lie when that special person in his life poses the question, “Does this make me look fat?”
The term “white lie” has been used since at least the 1700s. The earliest the phrase appeared in print was 1741, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, when the contrast between white lies and black lies was examined.
Why use the color white to denote a lie that – while it is an untruth – is kinder than the truth? White has always been the color of innocence, righteousness, goodness, and purity. Calling a lie “white” is the perfect way to separate it from the darker lies that are told to be cruel, malicious, or hurtful.