I'm reading a book and I bumped into this sentence:

He had aged well; his face was lined and wrinkled like every other resident of Hilltop, but there was a youthfulness about him, a certain quality of energy and vitality that seemed to make a lie of all the wrinkles.

So my question is: what is the exact meaning of the structure "to make a lie of" in this context. It is not in any dictionary.


  • Please cite sources. Right now, your sentence redirects to ...here. Commented May 26, 2019 at 20:39
  • 2
    It parses no differently than to make a cake of. Make has its normal definition. So does lie. In other words if you believed what the wrinkles might suggest about the man's energy and vitality, you'd be wrong.
    – Jim
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 23:21

2 Answers 2


In Lying and Teaching the Truth by Deborah Hage, one finds

The actions make a lie of the loving words.

This obviously means 'The cruel / uncaring actions reveal the loving words to be deceitful.'

Shakespeare, in Othello Act 3 has

Think'st thou I'ld make a lie of jealousy

meaning 'Do you think I'd say this jealousy didn't actually exist?'

And here, 'that seemed to make a lie of all the wrinkles' means 'that seemed to prove that the wrinkles were bearing false testimony about his age / had appeared far too early'.


to make a lie can be found in the OED:

a. An act or instance of lying; a false statement made with intent to deceive; a criminal falsehood. Phrase, to tell (†formerly to make) a lie.

As in: 'Pshaw, It's Me Grandson': Tales of a Young Actor 2006

Before Clay can finish his line, Rosebud reaches around and bites his chin sharply, as if to make a lie of his claim.

  • +1 I have heard this from people from the American South. "to make a lie" seems fossilized in some parts of the Anglophone sphere.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Mar 2, 2022 at 1:25

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