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I heard this phrase spoken on a British TV show. It was obvious from context that it meant 'a little white lie'.

How did this colloquialism arise? I have my own theory about about how this may have derived from Cockney rhyming slang, but I am more interested in the correct background.

@Dancrumb It was an episode of "Inspector Lewis". I can't place the exact episode, but Lewis was leaning on a newspaper reporter he had caught in a lie. The lie had been to cover up his infidelity, not relevant to the case and he stated to the Inspector...

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    It has negligible currency. It's an allusion to porkie = pork pie (Cockney rhyming slang for lie). Jul 14, 2014 at 15:46
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    @FumbleFingers I would suggest re-posting your comment as an answer. It seems sufficient to me.
    – Newb
    Jul 14, 2014 at 18:14
  • Which show? It's not just idle curiosity... some shows delight in creating new phrases
    – Dancrumb
    Jul 15, 2014 at 19:04
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    I'm guessing that it may actually have been "porkie" or "pork pie", misheard...
    – keshlam
    Jul 15, 2014 at 19:27
  • Agree with the above - sometimes people say "porkie pie", which could very easily have been misheard.
    – Keith
    Aug 12, 2014 at 3:57

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Rhyming slang - Pork pie - lie. Telling a porky: lying. Telling a Porcupine - English labored humor. Not researched only opined.

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