I've encountered the phrases "lying through his teeth" and "lying". Both have been used in similar contexts to (at least what I understand) as similar definitions. What is the meaning of the idiom of "to lie through one's teeth" and how is this different from just regular lying? Does lying through your teeth mean you lie while smiling?

Related, but not a duplicate. The answer there only tells the difference between "lying through his teeth vs lying in his teeth". My question is unique because I am asking about the difference in the usage of lying through his teeth vs lying in similar context, while the related question only addresses the origin of the phrase.

  • It's basically just more egregious.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 17, 2016 at 1:14
  • Yes, it's related, but it also gives the answer you're looking for. Feb 17, 2016 at 1:24
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    Perhaps one can tell that he's lying because his lips are moving?
    – Rob_Ster
    Feb 17, 2016 at 3:39

1 Answer 1


In my experience, lying through the teeth is used mostly when salesmen (or others) tell big or frequent lies, hoping to prey on the naivety of the other party.

TheFreeDicionary.com defines it in many ways, including:

"to lie boldly",

"to say things that are not true in a way that seems sincere",

"to tell someone something that you know is completely false",

"to lie outrageously or brazenly."

Wiktionary defines it as:

"To tell a gross or egregious untruth."

Dictionary.com defines it as:

"to lie grossly or maliciously"

That seems pretty inconsitent to me, so I would just try to use it the way other people seem to be using it around me, and I might even start asking them what the mean by it.

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    It refers to lying while exposing your teeth as in when you are smiling. Like when a saleman smiles his big beguiling smile while lying to you about his product.
    – Jim
    Feb 17, 2016 at 2:23
  • @DavidBlomstrom you should post that as an answer
    – fi12
    Feb 17, 2016 at 3:44

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