Etymology of "lie through your teeth"

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David Bradbury:
I've been scouring on- and off-line dictionaries of slang, idiom, phrase and fable and quotations, but have been unable to find an etymology/first usage for "lie through your teeth". Someone used the phrase the other day and it struck me for the first time how odd it is.
Can anyone point me in the right direction?
David Bradbury
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Christopher Johnson:
[nq:1]I've been scouring on- and off-line dictionaries of slang, idiom, phrase and fable and quotations, but have been unable to ... struck me for the first time how odd it is. Can anyone point me in the right direction? David Bradbury[/nq]
Lying through one's teeth means that the person is able to smile while lying. There's also "TO LIE IN ONE'S TEETH". It is very old, traceable to the early 1300's as in THE ROMANCES OF SIR GUY OF WARWICK, "Thou liest amidward and therefore have thou maugreth (shown ill will)." See:

http://www.geocities.com/ingodwetrustforweareundergod/origins.html

Christopher
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Mike Lyle:
[nq:2]I've been scouring on- and off-line dictionaries of slang, idiom, ... Can anyone point me in the right direction? David Bradbury[/nq]
[nq:1]Lying through one's teeth means that the person is able to smile while lying. There's also "TO LIE IN ONE'S ... THE ROMANCES OF SIR GUY OF WARWICK, "Thou liest amidward and therefore have thou maugreth (shown ill will)." See: http://www.geocities.com/ingodwetrustforweareundergod/origins.html[/nq]
Well, no, I don't think so. The original was surely some such expression as "He gave him the lie in his teeth", which meant He1 told him2 directly to his face that he2 was lying. We still have "in the teeth of (e.g.) a strong sou'westerly gale" and "in the teeth of the evidence". But the "in the teeth of" expression for "to his face" and "in the face of" isn't otherwise very common now (though I think it's making something of a comeback), so it got used in a way people could more easily recognize: once when we said "I told him he was lying in his teeth" we meant "I told him in his teeth he was lying", not that the lie had come through the teeth. "Through his teeth" was but a short step off.
I suspect that there may have been some influence from other body-part expressions like "He's an X in his bones/ to the marrow of his bones/ to his fingertips", meaning Xhood was in his very nature. "Thou liest amidward" seems to me one of those expressions: "You lie from your very guts".
(Note "thou maugrest" seems more likely than "thou maugreth"; but the expression is in keeping with Chaucer's "maugre" meaning "despite".)

Mike.
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Donna Richoux:
[nq:2]It is very old, traceable to the early 1300's as ... liest amidward and therefore have thou maugreth (shown ill will)."[/nq]
(snip other interpretations)
[nq:1](Note "thou maugrest" seems more likely than "thou maugreth"; but the expression is in keeping with Chaucer's "maugre" meaning "despite".)[/nq]
If it was a verb and if it was in the present tense, yeah. But there's an auxiliary in there, "have," so if it's a verb, I'd expect it to be a participle. Maybe it's more of a noun, like "a threatening position" or "a display of ill will," perhaps.
Now, why the "have thou" is not "hast thou" I don't know, except that Middle English verbs were not standardized and quite variable. Maybe it's a sort of conditional, because of the "therefore." Some of our participants may know.
"Malgre" (can't do accents on this machine) is still "in spite" in French.

Best Donna Richoux
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Mike Lyle:
[nq:1](snip other interpretations)[/nq]
[nq:2](Note "thou maugrest" seems more likely than "thou maugreth"; but the expression is in keeping with Chaucer's "maugre" meaning "despite".)[/nq]
[nq:1]If it was a verb and if it was in the present tense, yeah. But there's an auxiliary in there, "have," so if it's a verb, I'd expect it to be a participle.[/nq]
A good point: very bad reading on my part. I blame the varifocals, of course.
[nq:1]Maybe it's more of a noun, like "a threatening position" or "a display of ill will," perhaps.[/nq]
You're right on the money: OED1 glosses maugre "a state of being regarded with ill-will", and has a 1290 quotation of the very phrase: "...þou haue maugre", preceded by a list of alternative spellings including "maugreþ".
[nq:1]Now, why the "have thou" is not "hast thou" I don't know, except that Middle English verbs were not standardized and quite variable.[/nq]
I fancy the apparent discrepancies may often have involved subtlety rather than non-standardization.

Mike.
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Anna Skipka:
[nq:1]I've been scouring on- and off-line dictionaries of slang, idiom, phrase and fable and quotations, but have been unable to ... and it struck me for the first time how odd it is. Can anyone point me in the right direction?[/nq]
No, but I can point out similar idioms:
"To lie in one's throat," to lie flatly or abominably. See http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=to%20lie%20in%20one%27s%20throat

"Mentir comme un arracheur de dents," to lie like a tooth-puller. See additional notes at http://www.french-news.com/express yourself main.htm

-skipka
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