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To lie in one's teeth

Posted by ESC on June 09, 2004

In Reply to: Lying through his teeth posted by Smokey Stover on June 09, 2004

: : The meaning I'm not at all sure about and the origin I can only speculate about - wildly. Is there help out there?

: I have always assumed that lying through one's teeth was just an emphatic way of saying "lying." I don't know what is meant in particular by "through one's teeth," and have been unable to discover it. Perhaps someone else will be able to elucidate. If I can see someone's teeth then he must be lying to my face. But I doubt that that is the meaning of "through his teeth." The OED mentions lying "in his teeth," but without any further information. SS

I found this, a slightly different phrase, but it doesn't really explain it. And I couldn't find out what "amidward" means.

TO LIE IN ONE'S TEETH - "To accuse a person of lying in his teeth is the strongest of accusations, implying that the person is such a double-dyed liar as to be unfamiliar with truth. It is very old traceable to the early 1300s, as in 'The romances of Sir Guy of Warwick,' 'Thou liest amidward and therefore have though maugreth (shown ill will).'"
From "Hog on Ice & Other Curious Expressions" (1948, Harper & Row) by Charles Earle Funk.