Trend Watch

Hicks: I Tell 'White Lies'

Lookups rise 6500% after Hicks resignation

White lie saw an increase in lookups on February 27th, 2018 after White House communications director Hope Hicks used the term; her announced resignation the following day magnified this increase in lookups considerably.

Hope Hicks Acknowledges She Sometimes Tells White Lies for Trump
— (headline) The New York Times, 27 Feb. 2018

"A lie about a small or unimportant matter"

We define white lie as “a lie about a small or unimportant matter that someone tells to avoid hurting another person.” The term is of some considerable age, as there is evidence of use dating back to the 16th century.

Were I to lie with most solemn countenance, and swear I had replied to you as often, it is ten to one you would'nt believe me; especially as you know me so well, how idle I am in answering letters, and not so superstitiously veracious as to reckon every white lie as black as murder.
— Thomas More, Letter to Desiderius Erasmus, 1516 (in Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of Henry VIII, 1864)


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