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...

  • 9
    It has negligible currency. It's an allusion to porkie = pork pie (Cockney rhyming slang for lie). Jul 14, 2014 at 15:46
  • 3
    @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
  • 1
    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

1 Answer 1


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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.