I feel like the fact that people lie to themselves about things can tell you a lot about that person but I just can't put my finger on a single word that I'd use to describe them. In fact, not just describe them, but truly convey that they lie to themselves.

Example of a person who lies to themself: "I will do all my work tomorrow, I swear."

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    deluded, unrealistic, optimistic, naive, stupid? Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 23:16
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    How about "human"?
    – AakashM
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 9:14
  • I would define a lie as a story that you tell yourself. And you tell that to justify your actions or behavior. Sincerity is after the lie. You are sincere when you admit that you where telling a lie. To lie to someone else, you need there permission.
    – user69673
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 15:47
  • Depending on the context, you might say they have/are in bad faith... Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 15:06
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    Procrastinator? Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 19:14

9 Answers 9



A delusion is a belief or idea that is not true. To delude yourself is to convince yourself to believe an idea that is not true.

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    I was leaning more towards Self-Delusional, but that's splitting hairs.
    – WernerCD
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 13:40
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    @WernerCD self-delusional (adjective) describes the actual thoughts themselves. The person is self-deluding (verb). You may choose whichever. It depends upon of you wish to describe their thoughts or actions.
    – David M
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 13:57
  • @DavidM isn't believing an action? Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 3:06
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    @Spike Sure. But a belief is a noun. Delusional beliefs are nouns. Believing delusions is a verb.
    – David M
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 3:07
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    Self-deluding is an adjective. grammar.cl/Notes/Adjectives_ED_ING.htm. "John is cold. He is deluding (verb) himself that he can survive long. He has always been (verb) a self-deluding (adjective) person. If he remains delusional (adjective) like this he will die of hypothermia" Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 7:05

Such a person is said to engage in self-deception.


The truly single word for this is perhaps delusional.

Or am I deluding myself?

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    Came here to say that. Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 12:58

They are simply fooling themselves.


If a person lies to himself - the most appropriate word is delusional.

The person can be described as in a state of delusion where the person is filled with false beliefs.

If the person is imagining monsters attacking him, or constantly frightened by these delusions, the person is said to be having hallucinations or hallucinating.

If the person is imagining someone else, like the police or gang members conspiring to injure him, the word is persecutory delusions.

If a person imagines he is a powerful person, but is not, the appropriate word is grandiose delusion.

If a person cannot accept the truth and thinks to himself otherwise - the most appropriate word is self-denial.

If a person repeats the lie he saids to himself to someone else, that person is a pathological liar or compulsive liar.

If a person is living by his own delusions, he is said to be living in his own fantasy world.

Last: If you do meet such a person, you might or may want to confront his erratic or unusual behaviour and tell him what he thinks, is not true, and needs to correct his thoughts. That person may be a drug addict or mentally ill, who needs anti-drug treatment.


In psychology this is known as denial and it is generally thought of as unhealthy (though it is very common). Don't Even kNow I Am Lying. It is generally a lie of negation ("my drinking isn't a problem")

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    Although the proper descriptor for the person is that they are in denial or in a state of denial. The person is not denial.
    – David M
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 13:59

It's called pseudologia fantastica or mythomania literally.


I would say they are an overestimator. They aren't really lying, but you can never believe anything they say because they always overestimate.

Also you could go with a Wimpy (Popeye character). "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today". You ain't getting that money.

  • In both cases, these are lies to someone else, not themselves.
    – David M
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 20:14
  • @DavidM - Wimpy is a good guy. I am pretty sure he is thinking he will pay up. The reason why they say what they do is because they overestimate. Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 20:16
  • Ehhhhhhhh .... reaching at straws. But OK. Wimpy is an addict. They'll say anything to get what they want. Overestimators are just bad at measuring.
    – David M
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 20:19

Another way to say it is that person is in denial.

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    This has a more specific meaning of refusal to accept a particular circumstance.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 19:40

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