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1610s, from Middle French mendacieux, from Latin mendacium "a lie, untruth, falsehood, fiction," from mendax (genitive mendacis) "lying, deceitful," from menda "fault, defect, carelessness in writing," from PIE root *mend- "physical defect, fault" (see amend (v.)). The sense evolution of Latin mendax was influenced by mentiri "to speak falsely, lie, deceive." Related: Mendaciously; mendaciousness.