“Using pretty words to cover up faults” (文過飾非, pronounced wén guò shì fēi) is a Chinese idiom that refers to using eloquent words to gloss over a mistake, conceal a fault, or cover up a wrongdoing.
It originates from two sources. The first part, 文過 (wén guò), is from the “Analects” of Confucius, in a passage in which one of Confucius’s disciples, Zi Xia, states: “A person of low moral character is sure to gloss over his faults.”
The second part, 飾非 (shì fēi), is from “Zhuang Zi,” in a chapter called “The Robber Zhi” in which Ji Liuxia described his brother Dao Zhi as being “eloquent enough to hide his faults.”
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