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To lie is to make statements that are untrue, whether or not the falsity of such statements is known by the speaker. A lie can be a genuine falsehood or a selective truth, a lie by omission, or even the truth if the intention is to deceive.

Lying is against the moral standards of many people and is specifically prohibited as a sin in many religions. Philsophers are divided over whether a lie is ever allowable but are generally opposed - Aristotle said no, Plato said yes, Saint augustine said no, Kant said no.

A liar is a person who is known to have a tendency to tell lies. People's tolerance for liars is generally very small, and it is often only necessary to be caught lying once to be labelled as a liar and not trusted again.

However, the need to lie is recognized in the term white lie (or officious lie), where the lie is harmless, and there are circumstances where there is an expectation to be less than totally honest through necessity or pragmatism. Lies can be divided into classes - injurious or malicious, officious, and jocose, of which only the first class is serious (Catholicism classes the first as a mortal sin but also condemns the others as venial).

Lying is the subject of many paradoxes, the most famous one being the sentence "This is a lie" which is logically neither true nor false.

See also: The Boy who cried Wolf![?]


Lie or lie down also means to rest horizontally on a surface, such as a bed.



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