Polish Proverbs: Lying and the Vertically Challenged

Main Performance:

  • “Kłamstwa mają krótkie nogi”
    • Transliterated Proverb
      • Kłamstwa = Lies
      • Mają = Have
      • Krótkie = Short
      • Nogi = Legs
    • Full Translation: Lies have short legs
      • Explanation: Lies travel upon weak and flimsy foundations that are will undoubtedly be discovered and be caught up to by a regular pair of legs.


The informant is one of my close friends from my Catholic high school who I maintain contact with after graduation. He hails from a devoutly Catholic Polish family. Among most of the families that I knew of while attending, most of my classmates did not speak their family lineage’s mother tongue except for most of the my Polish and Hispanic classmates. No German and definitely not any Irish being spoken there.


My informant is currently attending medical school in Poland and I reached out to him through social media to ask if he had any traditional/folk-things he could share with me given his actively apparent and practiced Polish heritage, doubly so now that he is back in Poland.

My Thoughts:

The act of lying is universally considered a negative and this would definitely would be a virtue that is practiced in a Catholic home. This would especially be effective as a warning to children to discourage them for lying as they would easily be found out. When I first heard it I thought it was referring to the legs of a table instead of legs on a human being. By being such a small table, I thought the proverb detailed that lies made for flimsy foundations instead of being short legs that cannot run very far. I’m not sure if a variation exists for the phrase about how lies eventually becomes truths if one repeats it enough and how that correlates to the quote.