Have you seen the phrase ‘lies damn lies and statistics!’ somewhere online or in a text, and would like to know more about why people say it or what it means? The phrase is a reference to a British prime minister’s famous speech, though not the minister you think. This post unpacks the meaning, origin, and common use of the saying.
‘Lies damn lies and statistics!’ is a common English phrase that is repeated from a famous speech as a catchphrase or saying.
The phrase is often quoted without rememberence for its original context, and it is commonly used to invalidate or ridicule a statement (or argument) that has just been put forth by someone else.
The phrase is used as an exclamation of mock-surprise, though can have insulting implications for the person it is being said about (or to).
The short equivalent of the phrase is to say ‘bullshit’ in response to something that someone else has said or discussed.
It is not necessary to understand the origin of the saying in order to apply the phrase for its common meaning.
The phrase is meant to ridicule what someone in a conversation has said, or to ‘call bullshit’ for an argument, statement, or observation from someone else.
Context for the phrase can be gotten from what has been said, or stated by speakers in the conversation.
When used, the phrase can be used with punctuation or without – although with punctuation denotes the technical, correct usage of the saying.
“He told me that pineapple pizzas were one of the most popular ones in the entire store. Lies damn lies and statistics! There’s no way that’s possible in this town.”
“I can’t believe you bought the story about the horses. It has nothing to do with why the roads are closed tonight. It’s all lies damn lies and statistics.”
“Lies damn lies and statistics. We know there’s way more fat in this cheeseburger than the menu claims to say there is, and we know we’re going to fuck up our hearts and our veins with this.”
“Who gives a fuck how many social media followers you have when you have zero in your bank account? It’s all lies damn lies and statistics.”
According to online language resources, the phrase ‘lies damn lies and statistics’ is a saying attributed to a speech of Benamin Disraeli that was made in the 19th century. Other language resources say that this common quotation was first said by Mark Twain instead.
Research says that both are likely to have used the phrase in their speeches, with Disraeli using the quotation to refer to the fact that statistics is just another form of lying.
The phrase has somewhat lost its context over time, and now it can be used without reference to the original Disraeli or Twain use of the phrase.
While the entire saying does not appear on Urban Dictionary, the phrase ‘damn lie’ is listed from 2016.
Phrases Similar to Lies Damn Lies And Statistics
Phrases Opposite to Lies Damn Lies And Statistics
- The truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth
What is the Correct Saying?
- Lies damn lies and statistics
- It’s all lies damn lies and statistics
Ways People May Say Lies Damn Lies And Statistics Incorrectly
There are several ways in which someone can use the saying ‘lies damn lies and statstics’ in the wrong way, or misunderstand the meaning of the phrase.
Without context or understanding from the audience, the phrase could just make no sense to an observer.
Someone could also translate the phrase, for which it might lose its meaning if context is not given or explained.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase Lies Damn Lies And Statistics
The correct way to use the phrase ‘lies damn lies and statistics’ is to use the saying either as a reference to the original quote, or to use the phrase as an exclamation of mock surprise to point out flaws (or holes) in someone else’s argument.