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Lying for the Whetstone

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Said of a person who is grossly exaggerating or falsifying a statement. One of the Whitsun amusements of our forefathers was the lie-wage or lie-match; he who could tell the greatest lie was rewarded with a whetstone to sharpen his wit. The nature of these contests may be illustrated by the following well-known extravaganza: one of the combatants declared he could see a fly on the top of a church - steeple; the other replied, “Oh yes, I saw him wink his eye.”

When Sir R. Digby declared he had seen the “philosopher’s stone.” Bacon quizzically replied, “perhaps it was a whetsone.”

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Lycaonian Tables [Lycaoniæmensæ]
Lycidas
Lycisca (half-wolf, half-dog)
Lycopodium
Lydford Law
Lydia
Lydia Languish
Lydian Poet (The)
Lying Traveller (The)
Lying by the Wall
Lying for the Whetstone
Lyme-hound
Lynceus
Lynch Law
Lynch-pin
Lynchnobians
Lynx
Lynx-eyed
Lyon King-of-Arms
Lyonnesse
Lyre (The)