Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to mendacity: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


n. pl. men·dac·i·ties
1. The condition of being mendacious; untruthfulness.
2. A lie; a falsehood.


n, pl -ties
1. the tendency to be untruthful
2. a falsehood
[C17: from Late Latin mendācitās, from Latin mendāx untruthful]
mendacious adj
menˈdaciously adv
menˈdaciousness n


(mɛnˈdæs ɪ ti)

n., pl. -ties.
1. the quality of being mendacious; untruthfulness.
2. a lie; falsehood.
[1640–50; < Late Latin]


1. untruthfulness; the act or process of lying.
2. a lie or untruth. — mendacious, adj.
See also: Lies and Lying



Baron Münchhausen A teller of tall tales; one who embellishes and exaggerates to the point of falsehood; a creator of whoppers; a liar. Baron von Münchhausen (1720-97), a German who served in the Russian army, gained renown as a teller of adventurous war stories. These were collected by Rudolph Erich Raspe and published in 1785 as Baron Münchhausen ‘s Narrative of His Marvelous Travels and Campaigns in Russia. His name has since become synonymous with tall tales and untruths, whether their intent be to entertain or to deceive.

cry wolf To give a false alarm; to use a trick or other deceitful stratagem to provoke a desired response. This well-known expression alludes to the equally well-known fable about a shepherd lad who often cried “wolf to get the attention of his neighbors. When they finally grew wise to his trick, a real wolf appeared and the boy cried “wolf,” to no avail—no one heeded his call. OED citations date the phrase from the late 17th century.

She begins to suspect she is “not so young as she used to be”; that after crying “Wolf” ever since the respectable maturity of seventeen—… the grim wolf, old age, is actually showing his teeth in the distance. (Mrs. Dinah M. Craik, A Woman’s Thoughts About Women, 1858)

Equivalent expressions and fables appear in many nations throughout the world.

draw the long bow See EXAGGERATION.

from the teeth outward To say but not mean; to speak insincerely. This archaic phrase implies that vocal protestations of friendship, trust, etc., are often of questionable value after their utterance.

Many of them like us but from the teeth outward. (John Udall, Diotrephes, 1588)

Lamourette’s kiss See AGREEMENT.

lie through one’s teeth To purposely tell flagrant and obvious falsehoods; to speak maliciously and untruthfully; to prevaricate with blatant disregard for the truth. The use of teeth in this expression serves to underscore the severity of the lie or lies. Variations include lie in one’s teeth, lie in one’s throat, and lie in one’s beard.

out of whole cloth False, fictitious, fabricated, made-up; also cut out of whole cloth.

Absolutely untruthful telegrams were manufactured out of “whole cloth.” (The Fortnightly Review, July, 1897)

The origin of this expression is rather puzzling in that literal whole cloth (i.e., a piece of cloth of the full size as manufactured, as opposed to a piece cut off or out of it for a garment) seems to lend itself to positive figurative senses rather than negative ones. It has been conjectured that the change in meaning came about because of widespread cheating on the part of tailors who claimed to be using whole cloth but who actually used pieced goods, or cloth stretched to appear to be of full width. Thus, ironic use of the phrase may have given rise to the reversal in meaning. On the other hand, it may come from the sense of ‘having been made from scratch,’ that is, ‘entirely made up’ or ‘fabricated.’ The expression dates from the late 16th century.

snow job An attempt to deceive or persuade, usually by means of insincere, exaggerated, or false claims; a line, particularly one used to impress a member of the opposite sex or a business associate; excessive flattery; a cover-up. Snow, especially in large amounts, tends to obscure one’s vision and mask the true nature or appearance of objects on which it falls; thus, the expression’s figurative implications.

a white lie A harmless or innocent fib; a minor falsehood that is pardonable because it is motivated by politeness, friendship, or other praiseworthy concern. This expression draws on the symbolism often associated with the color “white” (purity, harmlessness, freedom from malice). An interesting definition of white lie was offered in a 1741 issue of Gentleman’s Magazine:

A certain lady of the highest quality … makes a judicious distinction between a white lie and a black lie. A white lie is that which is not intended to injure anybody in his fortune, interest, or reputation but only to gratify a garrulous disposition and the itch of amusing people by telling them wonderful stories.

William Paley, on the other hand, presents a different view:

White lies always introduce others of a darker complexion. (The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, 1785)

window dressing Misrepresentation or deceptive presentation of facts, particularly those relating to financial matters, to give a false or exaggerated impression of success or prosperity. Literally, window dressing is a technique of attractively displaying goods in a store window. The expression is figuratively applied to any specious display, but is used most often in contexts implying financial juggling which borders on the illegal, usually obeying the letter, though certainly not the spirit, of the law.

The promise of high duties against other countries deceives nobody: it is only political window-dressing. (Westminster Gazette, March 9, 1909)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.mendacity - the tendency to be untruthfulmendacity - the tendency to be untruthful  
untruthfulness - the quality of being untruthful
veracity - unwillingness to tell lies





[menˈdæsɪtɪ] N (frm) → mendacidad f


nVerlogenheit f
References in classic literature ?
Are you aware, my lord, that mendacity is an organized body, a kind of association of those who have nothing against those who have everything; an association in which every one takes his share; one that elects a leader?
It's a down-to-earth film that manages to break through the daily mendacity that people coat their every day lives with.
The book's title derives from a euphemism in Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof that Brick uses for the liquor cabinet, which provides him with the means of hearing the "click," the signal that he has arrived at a state of nirvana that temporarily burns off the mist of mendacity hanging over Big Daddy's plantation.
Coun Gary Crookes quite correctly points out the mendacity and dishonesty of the council's Labour group over the decision to allow development on Coventry's green belt land in order to meet housing demands.
She called on those who seek to profit from mendacity to refrain from such behaviour, calling on them to live poor with dignity rather than make money through begging.
What a great ability to use trickery and mendacity, by denying the horrible realities that Iraq and its people has lived through after its occupation," the PSP leader said.
KUWAIT, June 11 (KUNA) -- Higher Judicial Council chairman, Chief Justice Faisal Al-Marshad, noted in a statement issued today that he had apprised the office of the public prosecutor to look into " the lying, mendacity, deceit, and falsehood" that sprung out of last night's rally at the Erada square by an opposition group.
I've met a lot of people who know the difference between right and wrong, between truth and mendacity and are prepared to admit to mistakes they've made.
The cancellations lay bare three pillars of Obamacare: (a) mendacity, (b) paternalism and (c) subterfuge.
We must eliminate the evils of mendacity, poverty and illiteracy from our society.
In the case of Tony Blair's invasion of Iraq (pre-arranged with President George Bush), estimated to have cost in excess of 100,000 Iraqi and Allied lives, mendacity had to be protected by more and more lies and spin to hoodwink the populace.
Mostly Teachable is the daily journal of a middle-aged man dealing with issues of mediocrity and mendacity.