Origin of phrase "Put the lie to"

I have searched the Cambridge Dictionaries, Wordwizard and the SDMB, and cannot find the origin of the phrase “Put the lie to”. Can anybody help me out here?

I’ve never even heard the phrase. What’s the context it’s generally used in?

I have not heard that, however I have heard “put the truth to the lie”. You might want to try searching for that.

Tellme, the term is usually used to make the point that something has been disproven. When you google the phrase, more than 18,000 instances come up, i.e.;
… “They put the lie to their own propaganda”.
Apple has put the lie to the RIAA and all the more powr to them!
State Regulations Put the Lie to Slot Machine Myths.
the woman who single-handedly
put the lie to the foolish contention that the succubae were mythical. …
Spanish officials put the lie to FBI case in Madrid bombing.


Thanks, Cynical I’ll try that approach.

I’ve never heard “put the lie to” until now. The phrase I’ve always heard is “give/gives/gave the lie to”.

At the bottom of this page:

 To give the lie to.
        (a) To charge with falsehood; as, the man gave him the
        **(b) To reveal to be false; as, a man's actions may give
            the lie to his words.**

That might give you a lead.

The first thing I thought of was the poem by Walter Raleigh

Thanks for all the help, folks. I especially like the Walter Raleigh poem, Thudlow. Still looking for the OP line, though.

Time to solve this 10-year-old mystery.

The expression is either “gives the lie to” or “puts paid to.”

Sometimes people conflate those two expressions (as I did in another thread today) as “puts the lie to.”

Now let’s put this thread back to sleep for another 10 years.

No, sometimes people use “put the lie to” as a variant of “give the lie to.” It’s real and can be cited.

“put the lie to”

Some poking around suggests that it is more of an Americanism of the British original. That doesn’t explain the precise origin, but variants on phrases occur all the time and some increase in popularity.

Couldn’t let the thread sleep on an answer that’s blatantly wrong.

You could suggest it to http://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com for a bit of background research.

The fact that you found 56,000 examples just means it’s a common mistake. A similar search for “gives the lie to” yields 525,000 results, while “put paid to” yields 827,000 results.

Now, I’ll grant you that what starts as a mistake can become an accepted usage, and maybe this usage has reached that point. But I doubt it started as anything but what I suggest: a conflation of two phrases which often get used to convey the same idea.


It certainly has, which is why saying that “The expression is either ‘gives the lie to’ or ‘puts paid to’” can’t be let to stand. Even if it wasn’t accepted usage, what difference would that have made to the OP’s question about its origin? Non-accepted usage has origins every bit as real as accepted usage.

That’s possible, to be sure, although to me “put paid to” is a separate phrase with a considerably different meaning. Therefore I doubt it very much.

I’m familiar with the “put the lie to” variation. ISTM that it may be a matter of regional variation. I’m from the south, so there’s one data point.