a lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on

The speed with which falsehood travels was a classical commonplace; e.g. VIRGIL Aeneid iv. 174 Fama, malum qua non aliud velocius alium, Rumour, than whom no other evil thing is faster. This whole passage was imitated by Shakespeare in the Induction to Henry IV, Pt. 2 (1597–8).

1859 C. H. SPURGEON Gems from Spurgeon 74 It is well said in the old proverb, ‘a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on’.

1996 National Review 6 May 6 ‘A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.’ But, eventually, truth gets booted and spurred, and the lie gets a good licking.

2002 Times 21 Feb. 3 It is often said that a lie can get round the world quicker than the truth can get its shoes on. For Stephen McPherson, it was quicker than he could get his clothes on.

Proverbs new dictionary.

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