'Bald-Faced' or 'Bold-Faced' or 'Barefaced Lie': Which is Correct?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on February 16, 2023

You might have heard someone around you say that someone else told a specific kind of lie – a ‘bald-faced,’ ‘bold-faced,’ or ‘barefaced’ lie. But which one is correct? We’ll answer that in this article, plus teach you how to use the expression in a sentence correctly. You’ll also learn how to pronounce the phrase correctly.

Need a quick answer? Here it is:

  • ‘Bald-faced’ and ‘bold-faced’ are both acceptable to use.
  • ‘Bald-faced’ is the preferred term when it comes to published, edited text, however.
  • ‘Barefaced’ is the most ancient of the three terms, but it’s still in use. It’s not very common, though.

Is That Lie ‘Bald-Faced’ or ‘Bold-Faced’?

You might have seen both variations of this term floating around the internet, but which is it?

Most people seem to prefer both ‘bald-faced’ and ‘bold-faced’ these days. The terms can be used interchangeably because they mean the same thing.

The only difference is the spelling of the phrases.

‘Bald-Faced’ or ‘Bold-Faced’ – Which is Correct?

As you just learned, the correct one is both.

Both ‘bald-faced’ and ‘bold-faced’ are okay to use in your writing.

They’re both accepted ways to write the phrase.

However, ‘bald-faced’ seems to be the preferred spelling of the two.

These phrases all sound similar, but they mean the same things, which means they're not homophones.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Bald-Faced,’ ‘Bold-Faced,’ and ‘Barefaced’ Lie

According to Merriam-Webster, the phrase ‘bald-faced’ and ‘bold-faced’ are lies that are told without concern for their ethical implications and in full disregard for anyone affected.

A Brief History

In the 19th century, people used the phrase ‘barefaced lie’ to describe a lie such as this. As early as the late 16th century, this term has been used to describe anyone having the face uncovered due to lack of a beard or mask.

Between these two time periods, it developed into meaning ‘open,’ ‘unconcealed,’ and ‘barefaced impudence,’ which slowly paved the way for the most recent meaning it holds today. The ‘bald-faced’ variation appeared in the mid-20th century.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Bald-Faced,’ ‘Bold-Faced,’ and ‘Barefaced Lie’

Not sure how to pronounce these phrases? Here’s a short guide.

  • To pronounce a ‘bald-faced’ lie here’s the phonetic spelling: BOHLD-fAYs lIE
  • To pronounce a ‘bold-faced’ lie here’s the phonetic spelling: BOHLD-fAYs lIE
  • To pronounce a ‘barefaced’ lie here’s the phonetic spelling: BAIR-fAYs-lIE

How to Use ‘Bald-Faced,’ ‘Bold-Faced,’ and ‘Barefaced Lie’ in a Sentence

Now that you know what these phrases mean and how to pronounce them let’s see some examples of how to use them in a sentence.

  • Whenever my mom caught me lying, she’d say it was a bald-faced lie.
  • My sister told my dad a bold-faced lie about not going outside, but she was covered in mud. It was pretty funny.
  • I had to prove to my dad I was telling the truth. He accused me of telling a bold-faced lie.
  • My teacher taught us what a bold-faced lie is today, but most of us already knew what it was.
  • My principal caught me in a bald-faced lie when I told him I wasn’t skipping, but he already knew I was supposed to be in chemistry class.
  • The pastor preached about the bald-faced lie in church today.

Final Advice on ‘Bald-Faced,’ ‘Bold-Faced,’ and ‘Barefaced Lie’

To recap, we learned that:

  • ‘Bald-faced’ and ‘bold-faced’ are both correct and okay to use.
  • ‘Bald-faced’ is the most common way to express the term when it comes to published, edited text.
  • ‘Barefaced’ is the oldest of the three terms, but some people may still use it, though it’s not very common.

If you ever get stuck on usage or meaning, you can always come back here to refresh your memory. It happens to the best of us.

We’ve got a whole library of content on other confusing words and phrases you might see in the English language while you’re learning. Don’t be afraid to go check it out whenever you need to.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.