A lie as tall as a tower

The Old Town bridge tower

Hello and welcome to another edition of SoundCzech –Radio Prague’s Czech language series in which you can learn new phrases with the help of song lyrics. Today’s song is by Hana Zagorová it is called Biograf Lásky (Cinema of Love)and the phrase to listen out for is “můžeme si lhát” – we can lie to each other.

The Czech word for a lie is “lež”. You have big lies – “velké lži” and fibs or little lies – “malé lži”. A big liar will lie to you as if he were printing the words “lže jako kdyz tiskne”– meaning one statement after another is a lie. For shameless liars Czechs also have the expression “lže jako když Rudé Právo tiskne”– he lies like the communist newspaper Rudé Právo prints articles –a remnant of the communist era. Or you may hear people say “lže jako když bičem mrská”– he lies as fast as you can crack a whip.

Old Town Bridge Tower | Photo: Štěpánka Budková,  Radio Prague International
A quaint expression for a big liar is “sedmilhář” – meaning seven times a liar. A whopping lie is “lež jako věž” a lie as tall as a tower. But you can also have a “milosrdná lež”– a merciful lie – such as when you tell a woman that she really hasn’t put on a pound. On the other hand, one should remember that “lež má krátké nohy” meaning a lie has short legs – it is not likely to run very far.

Then you have the kind of lies that are exaggerations the truth – if you do not believe the size of the fish your friend claims to have caught in the local pond you can say “to kecáš”– a very colloquial expression which says someone is having you on or talking nonsense. A frequent response you may hear to an unlikely story is “neřikejte” meaning- you don’t say. Or you may hear the expression “to jsou báchorky”– meaning - that sounds like fairytales.

And finally in a situation where you do not want to tell the truth – nor an outward lie means you will have to “mlžit” that is to create fog or if you prefer a smoke-screen. Politicians do a lot of that ahead of the elections but in the end they usually have to “jít s pravdou ven” bring the truth out into the open. This is DL saying thanks for learning Czech with me and na shledanou.