In a couple of books and articles I've come across an adage, “the first liar is always believed most”:

Now, I talked to the captain first, but I want you to know that great old saying, “The first liar gets believed”, does not apply with me. I listen to everybody the same.
—Poyer, David. The Gulf, p. 322.*

And while I agree the digital age gives you additional options for setting the record straight or refuting allegations, there’s another old adage I heard once that seems to be true as well: “the first liar is always believed most.”
—Barrett, John. Comment section, “Is It a Better Time Than Ever to Pick Fights With the Press?”, Mr. Media Training Blog.

Where did this originate?

* Quotation verified using Amazon’s search inside this book feature, search text [ first liar ].

  • what did a google search tell you?
    – Mitch
    Jun 21, 2013 at 13:30
  • @Mitch Not very much. A couple of people cite it, but generally I get the Christian adage that "the first liar always loses." Jun 21, 2013 at 13:45
  • 2
    Can you give us a quote for that? It is an awfully clumsy sentence. Are you sure it was not the first liar is always the most believed or similar?
    – terdon
    Jun 21, 2013 at 15:34
  • @terdon -- I took your advice. See edits. Jun 24, 2013 at 20:55
  • I edited to include excerpts in the question. This is helpful because of link rot.
    – MetaEd
    Jun 24, 2013 at 22:35

1 Answer 1


The First Liar Wins: You must be referring to the FLW Rule.

FLW is in effect whenever a conversational combatant asserts a fact, evidence, or conclusion that is (1) simply stated; (2) superficially plausible; and (3) emotionally appealing.

Bob Lewis writes further on InfoWorld:

It works because once uttered — and because they are simple, plausible, and appealing — any attempt to refute them sounds argumentative rather than constructive.

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