- falsehood, falseness, falsityThe three words, all to do with departure from the truth or what is true, have a considerable overlap in meaning and are sometimes interchangeable. Falsehood is the intentional telling of an untruth, and a falsehood is a lie or untruth. Falseness and falsity are both used more broadly to mean ‘deceitfulness or unfaithfulness’ or an instance of either. Examples:
• A half-truth was a falsehood, and it remained a falsehood even when you'd told it in the belief that it was the whole truth —Aldous Huxley, 1939
• As it had always been, truth and falsehood were inextricably intertwined in that statement —S. Naipaul, 1980
• The engagement had probably not been a complete falsity, a piece of acting —Humphrey Carpenter, 1982
• The biggest danger in diplomacy is falseness, dishonesty and lack of credibility —D. Freemantle, 1988
• The title track from his last album…is a typically excoriating Pop lyric —a diatribe at the falsity and emptiness of modern life —Independent, 2002.
Modern English usage. 2014.