Definition of fib in English:



  • A lie, typically an unimportant one.

    ‘parents told little white fibs about out-of-wedlock births’
    • ‘It's one thing to build a case on fibs only you know to be lies.’
    • ‘And, you know, what it all boils down to is just being a genuine nice guy and never get caught telling fibs.’
    • ‘With so many fibs and half-truths floating around, it was no wonder that women had trouble making up their minds.’
    • ‘That means smear campaigns, dirty politics and lots and lots of fibs.’
    • ‘Oh, and no stories or fibs, not even little white ones!’
    • ‘True, he made some mistakes and he told a few fibs, they tell me - but he really means well and he intends to fix things and, above all, he has a plan.’
    • ‘And this is what truly makes running the piece rank propaganda down here, rather than just plain old fibs and/or misinformation.’
    • ‘He justified the fib by saying the made-up support would be more credible than self-promotion alone.’
    • ‘Although most falsehoods detected in this study were inconsequential, fibs do have financial implications.’
    • ‘It is such a common fib because it is such a comforting fib.’
    • ‘These little white fibs give me an uneasy feeling, and I begin to wonder why the shop would lie, when I am here to help save them thousands of dollars in fines.’
    • ‘This is backed up by an overwhelming 96 per cent of British women who admit they lie, with almost half saying they tell little white fibs most days.’
    • ‘Often enough, such fibs are harmless and trivial.’
    • ‘There is a manuscript note by another official which comments on this minute; it refers to ‘a certain old fashioned reluctance to tell a whopping fib, or even a little fib, depending on the number of permanent inhabitants’.’
    • ‘If we can't allow Chevalier her little fibs, we might as well ban all historical fiction.’
    • ‘Even though he'd published all those dreadful fibs.’
    • ‘And a lie from the White House - or a fib or a misrepresentation or a fudged number - can go a long way toward distorting the national discussion.’
    • ‘Existence in the real world is just not possible without an occasional fib or an expertly timed falsehood.’
    • ‘Sailors have long reported sightings of these waves, but reports had mainly been dismissed either as exaggeration or outright fibs.’
    • ‘Is a fib really a fib if the teller is unaware that he is uttering an untruth?’
    lie, untruth, falsehood, made-up story, trumped-up story, invention, fabrication, deception, piece of fiction, fiction, falsification, fairy story, fairy tale, cock and bull story
    half-truth, exaggeration, departure from the truth
    tall story, tall tale, whopper
    pork pie, porky pie, porky
    terminological inexactitude
    View synonyms


  • Tell an unimportant lie.

    • ‘By the end of the apprenticeship, war had broken out and Archie volunteered for the Royal Air Force, fibbing a little about his age, so that he could get in.’
    • ‘Perhaps he was fibbing when he said credibility was Salon's most important asset.’
    • ‘Besides, you two would have given away our true intentions, so I fibbed a little, is that a crime?’
    • ‘However, in our one-to-one yesterday, sans-manager, it soon became apparent that she was fibbing big-style.’
    • ‘I had to snap her out of it somehow, so I fibbed a little.’
    • ‘But a Cornell professor recently claimed to have established the truth of a curious proposition: We fib less frequently when we're online than when we're talking in person.’
    • ‘I do admit that I fibbed a little and told her that I was a fireman instead of an ice cream man, but both professions involve driving a truck into neighborhoods and saving lives, so as far as I'm concerned it was a white lie.’
    • ‘That may explain a lot - the peculiar mindset giving rise to her uneven recent work and, in turn, perhaps even that guy problem about which her friend fibbed so gently.’
    • ‘Seth wasn't the only person allowed to fib every now and then.’
    • ‘On the other hand, if you give two differing accounts of something, it's reasonable for folks to wonder which time you were telling the truth and which time you were fibbing.’
    • ‘I, by contrast, am fascinated by weather and believe that people claiming not to be are fibbing.’
    • ‘A Bucks source with no reason to fib claims there is no truth to the report SF Glenn Robinson is on the market.’
    • ‘‘Thanks,’ Sandra fibbed, trying not to show her disappointment as she looked at the roses.’
    • ‘You said it and then that little tongue came out; that weird way you stick your tongue out between your lips like the little kid who knows he's fibbing.’
    • ‘John Jay Ray says scientists are fibbing about the Greenhouse Effect.’
    • ‘I sensed he may have fibbed a bit, but I'll let you be the judge of that.’
    • ‘And publicists, eager to please their clients, are still fibbing to keep their starlets young.’
    • ‘I would be fibbing if I didn't say at times that was frustrating.’
    • ‘Unless, you know, they're fibbing a little and don't really have any confidence in their actions at all?’
    • ‘But we also ought to have some sources that won't fib or sugar-coat to appease their key demographic group.’
    lie, tell a fib, tell a lie, invent a story, make up a story, dissemble, dissimulate, pretend, depart from the truth
    exaggerate, stretch the truth
    pull the wool over someone's eyes, pull someone's leg
    lie through one's teeth, con, kid
    be economical with the truth, tell a terminological inexactitude
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century: perhaps a shortening of obsolete fible-fable nonsense reduplication of fable.