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In this sentence...i see no reason for lying or lies (untruths):

그런데 마치 엘리야의 기도를 들으셔서 3년 넘은 가뭄을 끝내는 단비가 내렸던 것처럼 기도회 도중에 거짓말처럼 천둥번개와 함께 폭우가 쏟아졌습니다

Is "거짓말처럼" an idiomatic phrase? It seems so...what other uses/examples of this might be common?

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Idiomatic phrases of a kind:

  • 거짓말처럼 (interchangeable with 거짓말같이)
  • 거짓말같이
  • 거짓말 같은

Korean dictionary translates it to "like a lie". But that doesn't really make sense sometimes. There could be other translations.

I think it means:

  • just in time
  • out of expectation
  • hard to believe
  • like a joke/miracle
  1. incredible(ly)
  2. unbelievable(ly)
  3. surprising(ly)
  4. fabulous(ly)
  5. extreme(ly)
  6. severe(ly)
  7. luckily

etc.

For example:


The first common use case for it I can come up with is where someone recovers from almost incurable disease/illnesses.
Suppose I got a cancer and everyone thought I was gonna die soon. But somehow I got over it.
Then people can say, "거짓말처럼 암을 극복해 냈다!" - though it's hard to believe, one overcame cancer.
Or "거짓말처럼 병이 나았다." - Surprisingly, one got cured from the disease.


It's sometimes used on weather conditions.
One day I go outside and it's really cold. It's so cold that I doubt if my brain and sensorys are functioning correctly.
In that sense I say; "거짓말 같은 추위다." "It's incredibly cold."


The weather was rainy all day. But as soon as I went outside it stopped raining, just in time and luckily.
"(그러자) 거짓말처럼 날씨가 맑아졌다." "Then it became sunny just in time."


I was on a vacation so I hoped that it would not rain soon. Then it started to rain.
"(그러자) 거짓말처럼 비가 내리기 시작했다." "Then it started to rain like a joke."


We prayed for rain. Then it started to rain. It's a miracle.

그런데 마치 엘리야의 기도를 들으셔서 3년 넘은 가뭄을 끝내는 단비가 내렸던 것처럼 기도회 도중에 거짓말처럼 천둥번개와 함께 폭우가 쏟아졌습니다

  • "... 거짓말처럼 천둥번개와 함께 폭우가 쏟아졌습니다"
  • "... thunderstorms and heavy rain poured down like a miracle."
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표준국어대사전 lists 거짓말처럼, 거짓말같이 (as a part of entry "거짓말") as "very different from before". So it describes a very quick, sudden change which is so dramatic and unbelievable. When you tell someone about this, they might think you are "lying". Sometimes we also use it to describe a very unlikely happening.

Here is a famous example from the Korean translation of Japanese basketball manga "Slam Dunk" (Original Japanese manga also uses the same phrase "ウソのように").

그러나 이 사진이 표지로 사용되는 일은 없었다. 산왕과의 사투에 모든 힘을 쏟아낸 북산은 이어지는 3회전에선 거짓말처럼 참패를 당했다.

However, this picture was never used as a front cover (of a newspaper/magazine). Buk-san(Shohoku in Japanese), which spent all their energy in the desperate match against San-wang(Sanno in Japanese), lost unbelievably hopelessly in the following third round.

"The picture" of 북산 was taken right after a dramatic victory against 산왕. The phrase 거짓말처럼 is used to emphasize the contrast between the great game against 산왕 and the terrible game in the next round.

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