Economical with the truth

Posted by Lewis on November 12, 2004

In Reply to: Economical with the truth posted by David FG on November 12, 2004

: : : I read this in an AP story this moring. Someone accused, or at least suspected, of a crime was "...economical with the truth...".

: : : The dateline was London. Is this a fairly common British phrase or is some reporter being cute?

: : From this site:

: : Meaning
: : Conveying an untrue version of events by leaving out the important facts. A euphemism for lying, in short.
: : Origin
: : Recorded from the 18th century, although rarely used. Brought into the contemporary language by the UK Cabinet Secretary, Sir Robert Armstrong, who used the phrase during the Australian 'Spycatcher' trial in 1986.

: A rather pretentious variant was that of the late Minister, Alan Clark, who used the phrase, 'economical with the actualité' to mean the same thing.

As to how widespread:

Only yesterday I read the report of a police interview in which the accused admitted to being 'economical with the truth' - in fact, she was not being 'economical', she was being 'interpretive' of the meaning of a question.

At the risk of offending those that appear to believe that the human race continues through widespread immaculate conception, I shall ask a question with sexual overtones without apology:

Did "Wild Willy" Clinton use any memorable expressions in fessing up to his non-sexual ejaculatory escapade with Ms Lewinsky?

Politicians do come up with some of the most memorable, after all.