barefaced lie

Idioms & Phrases

barefaced lie

A shameless falsehood. For example, Bill could tell a barefaced lie with a straight face. The adjective barefaced means "beardless," and one theory is that in the 1500s this condition was considered brazen in all but the youngest males. By the late 1600s barefaced also meant "brazen" or "bold," the meaning alluded to in this phrase.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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