A Word A Day : Mendacious

Thursday, 17th January 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Adjective )

Pronunciation : men-dáy-sh-ess

1. having lied in the past, or prone to lying at any time

2. deliberately untrue

3. given to lying


From Latin mendācium, lie, from mendāx - mendāc - mendacious - 1616, from M.Fr. mendacieux, from L. mendacium "a lie," from mendax (gen. mendacis) "lying, deceitful," related to menda "fault, defect, carelessness in writing" (cf. amend, mendicant), from PIE base *mend- "physical defect, fault." The sense evolution of mendax influenced by mentiri "to speak falsely, lie, deceive." Mendacity is attested from 1646.


deceitful, deceptive, duplicitous, equivocating, erroneous, fallacious, false, fibbing, fraudulent, insincere, knavish, lying, paltering, perfidious, perjured, prevaricating, shifty, spurious, untrue, untruthful, wrong


honest, loyal, straightforward, trustworthy, truthful, upright


Ddeceitful means intended to deceive or cheat while deceptive means causing one to believe what is not true or likely to mislead someone.

Contextual Examples:

• Children are naturally mendacious. If you ask them what they are doing, they will automatically answer nothing.

• The jury saw through the mendacious witness and convicted the defendant.

• To be mendacious is to engage in mendacity or lying. I have no flaws, except occasional mendacity.

• Mildred had become great friends with her and had given her an elaborate but mendacious account of the circumstances which had brought her to the pass she was in.

• Don't confuse the word mendacious with mendicant.

Related Words:

mendaciously : Adverb

mendacity : Noun

mendaciousness : Noun

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