A: The truth is the only thing to get her back.

B: Except you won't be telling her the truth. Will you? You will be telling her that your brother is lying to her to her face with almost pathological sincerity for the past two years.

1 Answer 1


Pathology is the study of the effects of diseases, so if something is "pathological" it is caused by an illness, either physical or mental.

The most common usage in this context is in the phrase "pathological liar" - someone who tells lies as a result of having a mental condition (sometimes diagnosed as mythomania).

Your example seems to be about someone telling a conscious lie rather than an uncontrollable one, but saying that he does so with "almost pathological sincerity" suggests to me that his ability to make the lie sound true comes naturally to him, perhaps because of the length of time (2 years) that he has been telling it.

  • Worth adding that B's statement is emotionally loaded and sodden with rhetoric? Jun 8, 2020 at 9:10
  • One might think that "pathological liar" would be a lighter accusation than "habitual liar", but "pathological" seems to intensify it. It's almost as if "pathological", the attribution of a disease state, were more shameful than moral failure. Jun 8, 2020 at 9:55
  • @PrimeMover Good shout but it goes beyond the question a bit so rather than cause confusion, I'll leave it out. The OP has read the surrounding context and hasn't asked about anything else.
    – Astralbee
    Jun 8, 2020 at 11:07

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