What's a word for when someone is wrong, and they know they're wrong, but they insist that they are right?

EDIT: If someone does something and you know they did it, and they know they did it, but they keep telling everyone they didn't do it, and they go out of their way to try and convince others that they didn't do it.

(Example: Someone steals your dog. You know it's your dog. Your dog knows he's your dog. But the thief goes around saying its their dog and produces false receipts or photos (of other dogs), etc.)

  • 7
    Is this argument still going on as you type? :-)
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 26 '11 at 16:22
  • 4
    This question is hard for me to follow. They know they're wrong but they think they're right?
    – Jeremy
    Sep 26 '11 at 16:27
  • 1
    Which is it, do they think they're right or wrong? Sep 26 '11 at 16:28
  • The technical term is confused.
    – Unreason
    Sep 26 '11 at 16:41
  • 3
    I believe the word is "politician."
    – xpda
    Sep 26 '11 at 20:20

The person is definitely a liar. If they really are believing the lie, then they might even be delusional.

  • Thank you! Delusions of Grandeur is actually what I was thinking of but couldn't remember. Sep 26 '11 at 17:47
  • 1
    "Deluded" is a way to back off the clinical label of "delusional", too.
    – JeffSahol
    Sep 26 '11 at 17:48
  • @Rodeo: A delusion of grandeur is a false impression of one's importance; more like like lying to yourself than to another. Sep 26 '11 at 19:07

As @jimreed says, such a person is a liar. This basically covers all contexts where someone says something that they know is untrue. But OP is specifically looking for a way to describe a liar who is aware that at least some other people know for certain that what he says untrue.

The most common terms for the specific context are brazen and barefaced liar, both of which occur about equally. Both these adjectives are also commonly applied to the lie itself, but for some reason barefaced lie is more common than brazen lie.

A common coarse slang term that comes to mind is bullshitter. I'm not saying Urban Dictionary is always a reliable authority, but I can't fault the example in definition 7 there - Someone who will claim he drank 2 litres of vodka and was not drunk.

  • +1 with caveat: personally I feel that BRAZEN is more fitting to what the OP is looking for (as in "stupidly bold"). To me, BAREFACED denotes that most people don't believe the lie. The lie is so obvious, it is "written on the liar's bare face". Sep 26 '11 at 20:19
  • 1
    @Martin S. Stoller: I didn't say so in the answer, but I personally would probably normally call someone a brazen liar, and accuse them of coming out with a barefaced lie. If you'd habitually make that subtle distinction between them, you're a more precise speaker than me. I'd just use my two pairings practically every time because they're what rolls off my tongue. Which makes sense with barefaced lie, because I'd hear that more. I think I say brazen liar because I also say brazen hussy, so I'm more used to applying brazen to people, not to lies. Sep 27 '11 at 1:18
  • ...plus whilst I like the idea of written on the liar's bare face, I don't think the *guilt written all over your face interpretation directly relates to the origin of barefaced, which is simply beardless, undisguised. Sep 27 '11 at 2:08
  • Have you noticed how variants on barefaced lie/liar have been cropping up of late? You now see boldfaced and even baldfaced showing up a good deal, mostly over the last 30–40 years. Ngrams here and here. Plus rerun as a single unhyphenated word for even more of a neologistic shift.
    – tchrist
    Jul 29 '12 at 14:39
  • @tchrist: Strange: The absolute numbers are unexpectedly high. Still swamped by the "correct" version, but definitely on the rise. You can see why though - take out the word "faced", and "a lie" is more likely to be bold or bald than bare Jul 29 '12 at 14:55

If he knows is wrong, but is trying to prevent others from detecting the wrongness, he is being deceitful .

You may also call him a fabricator, a liar, or a whitewasher — although that less connotes lying about knowing the truth than of glossing over a transgression.

The act, by the way, is called scapegoating.

  • +1 deceitful. I would have also said dishonest.
    – MrWhite
    Sep 26 '11 at 20:38

'Pig-headed' is the word I'd use.


Like the square root of two, such a person is irrational.

  • 1
    I wouldn't use irrational. You can behave in such a way and be very rational (if you are doing it in a malicious way).
    – nico
    Oct 23 '11 at 17:36

Assuming he knows he's wrong (your question isn't clear on this): obstinate, stubborn, unswayable.

If he isn't sure whether he's right or keeps changing his mind: confused, wishy-washy.

  • Sorry, I edited the question a little. Yes, the person knows he's in the wrong but is going overboard to try and prove he's right. Sep 26 '11 at 16:54

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