Connect
MJA
MJA

Screening mammography and mortality

Pam Peters
Med J Aust 2003; 178 (4): 190.

Comment: The expression "give the lie to" has shifted its emphasis over the centuries, from the very direct "accuse (someone) of lying" to the much more abstract "show or imply (something) to be false". Some modern dictionaries, such as the Macquarie Dictionary (1997) and Merriam-Webster (2000), still give both meanings; others, such as the New Oxford Dictionary (1998), only the second. Large British and American databases, such as the British National Corpus, show that the phrase is usually used abstractly: one "gives the lie to" propaganda/a claim/an argument/a theory — whether in the context of academic discussion or political debate. The validity of an intellectual position is questioned, not the integrity of the person(s) associated with it. Yet, the simplicity of the phrase "give the lie to" probably gives the lie to the complexity of the challenge it expresses.

  • Pam Peters


Correspondence: 

Author

remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Comment
Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Responses are now closed for this article.