Don’t trust the person who has broken faith once.

Status: Misquoted.

I am guessing that this quote is actually a casual paraphrase of this one, from Henry VI Part 3:

For trust not him that hath once broken faith

So what should we call these?  Technically not Shakespeare, but a pretty clear case of just paraphrasing what was originally said.

2 thoughts on “Don’t trust the person who has broken faith once.

  1. I think it falls into a “gilding the lily” category. It clearly has its origins in Shakespeare, but it’s been corrupted through frequent use—or misuse.

    The lines from King John, which actually read “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, / To throw a perfume on the violet,” have been reduced and conflated to the phrase “gild the lily.” The phrase you mention has suffered more—it’s more like a paraphrase than a conflation—but I think the principle must be the same.



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