Consider a scenario where a person out of some urge or compulsion says I have read this book, that book. Maybe due to anxiety he runs on urges and says things which are not true. He might have read one chapter of a book and says he has read the whole book and try to be knowledgeable.

Could we term it as lying or hypocritical behavior? What's the appropriate word for this?

Because he may not be intentionally lying. He probably gets overtaken by urges.

  • If you don't want to call the person a "liar", then you could say that he "exaggerates". A similar word (but a noun, and not as common) is "hyperbole". Feb 11, 2022 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


One possible term is “compulsive liar”, which includes your sense that they get overtaken by urges. That’s what distinguishes a compulsive liar from a pathological liar who lies to benefit themself.

  • Thanks. What about case where the person belives something to be true and talks about it to others. Which is actually false. This type of behavior can be observed in followers of spiritual gurus. Like brainwashed to believe something. So they are not lying in the sense that they themselve believe it to be true. Or lack critical thinking skills to differentiate between true and false
    – pensee
    Jan 14, 2021 at 4:19

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