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Looking for an expression, idiom, or phrase that would indicate a lie is being told, or was told, etc.

I will not be using this phrase as part of a sentence, so I can't give an example. I just wanted a phrase that would convey this meaning. Some examples of what I am looking for include "to spin yarn" and "what a tangled web we weave". Thanks.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Hot Licks, Lawrence, Tonepoet, lbf, AmE speaker Jan 6 at 5:22

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Sir Walter Scott: Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. – Peter Shor Jan 5 at 23:24
  • So you're looking for an expression to refer to someone (or some thing) of questionable veracity, suggesting mendacity or prevarication? – Hot Licks Jan 5 at 23:25
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    What exactly is wrong with I lied? If you're not going to use it in a sentence, how are you gong to use it? – Jason Bassford Jan 5 at 23:30
  • I am going to use it on it's own, as the sentence. – peabody2 Jan 5 at 23:36
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    @peabody2 You mean a one-word sentence, consisting of this word? I'm finding it difficult to understand you. Can you let us have a bit more context? – WS2 Jan 6 at 0:03
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If you want a fairly direct phrase, you can use:

He lies like a rug.

And you can use that in past tense, or a continuous tense, as well.

Google Ngrams seems to show that this is predominantly used in American English, but I suspect people in the U.K. will understand it, as well.

If you want a phrase that doesn't sound insulting to the liar, it might be a little tougher to come up with one.

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Some useful phrases:

  • to lie through one's teeth = to lie
  • Janus-faced = hypocritical, showing different people different selves
  • Artful Dodger = a forger
  • to spin a yarn = to tell a false tale
  • Judas / quisling / Benedict Arnold / turncoat = a traitor
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    And I'm sure Samuel Clemens had 100 others in Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. – Hot Licks Jan 6 at 0:59
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If you’re looking for something that’s both playful and a reference to a classic piece of Italian literature you can use:

Your nose is growing
An expression used to confront someone for telling a lie, a reference to the Pinocchio puppet

https://americanliterature.com/english-language-idioms

This expression can go even further. If someone just told a lot of lies, you can say that their nose is so long it just hit you in the face. A good example of this can be found here.

  • Actually, it's a reference to a classic American cartoon, by Jiminy! – Hot Licks Jan 6 at 0:58

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