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The meaning and origin of the expression: While you live, tell truth and shame the Devil!

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While you live, tell truth and shame the Devil!

Meaning

Tell the truth, even when tempted to lie.

Origin

The preacher Hugh Latimer recorded this as a 'common saying' as early as 1555, in his Twenty Seven Sermons:

"There is a common saying amongst vs, Say the truthe and shame the diuel."

Shakespeare also used the expression in Henry IV. Part I, 1597:

Hotspur:
And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil
By telling truth: tell truth and shame the devil.
If thou have power to raise him, bring him hither,
And I'll be sworn I have power to shame him hence.
O, while you live, tell truth and shame the devil!

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.