be·​lie | \ bi-ˈlī How to pronounce belie (audio) , bē- \
belied; belying

Definition of belie

transitive verb

1a : to give a false impression of Her gentleness belies her strength.
b : to present an appearance not in agreement with His manner and appearance belie his age.
2a : to show (something) to be false or wrong The evidence belies their claims of innocence.
b : to run counter to : contradict … appeared to belie all the rosy things I had heard about it.— Katherine T. Kinkead
3 : disguise sense 3 An air of rural charm … belies the community's industrial activity.American Guide Series: Pennsylvania

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Other Words from belie

belier \ bi-​ˈlī(-​ə)r How to pronounce belier (audio) , bē-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for belie



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Did You Know?

What is a lie? asked Lord Byron in Don Juan. He then answered himself: "'Tis but the truth in masquerade. . . ." The history of "belie" illustrates a certain connection between lying and disguising. In its earliest known use, around A.D. 1000, belie meant "to deceive by lying." By the 1200s, it was being used to mean "to tell lies about," using a sense similar to that of the modern word slander. Over time its meaning softened, shifting from an act of outright lying to one of mere misrepresentation, and by the early 1700s, the word was being used in the sense "to disguise or conceal." Nowadays, "belie" suggests giving an impression at variance with the facts rather than telling an intentional untruth.

Examples of belie in a Sentence

a tree whose delicate beauty belies its real toughness Their actions belie their claim to be innocent.
Recent Examples on the Web The nature of the shale boom is such that proved reserves belie the size of the ultimate resource base. Washington Post, "What Are Proved Oil Reserves Really Trying to Prove?," 25 Sep. 2019 The president’s grim mood belied what was otherwise a good day for him. Peter Baker, New York Times, "Assured of Acquittal, Trump Makes Case for a Second Term," 5 Feb. 2020 The laughter stands out, belying an existence of dire living conditions for the children and adults alike. Katy Fallon, Fortune, "Europe’s refugee crisis is getting worse—for these children," 1 Feb. 2020 Suicide is the nation's 10th leading cause of death with 14.2 deaths per 100,000 people, though that rate alone belies the scope of the problem. Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY, "More and more Americans are dying by suicide. What are we missing?," 31 Jan. 2020 The united front both speaks to and belies the pact’s unusual politics. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Senate approves USMCA, as Texas Sens. Cornyn and Cruz back Trump’s revamped North American trade deal," 16 Jan. 2020 The episode closed with Daryl and his group in another perilous situation, having seemingly been led into it by Alpha (Samantha Morton), the Whisperers' leader, whose honeyed voice belies her evil intent. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Walking Dead' drops another cliffhanger in midseason finale," 24 Nov. 2019 But the strong tones in his manifesto also belied frustration at the pace of progress, and his invitation to return to childhood innocence to establish new gender codes suggested that the only way forward is to go back and start over. Washington Post, "Gucci’s Michele marks 5 years of challenging masculine codes," 14 Jan. 2020 But the whimsical decorations, along with a towering Christmas tree and a life-sized Nativity scene, belied the ugly battle being waged for control of not just the sprawling $44 million mansion but of Ford herself. Jane Musgrave, USA TODAY, "Daughters claim ailing widow of Henry Ford II is being abused by longtime companion," 12 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'belie.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of belie

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for belie

Middle English belien, going back to Old English belēogan, from be- be- + lēogan "to lie entry 3"

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Time Traveler for belie

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The first known use of belie was before the 12th century

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Statistics for belie

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Belie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for belie


How to pronounce belie (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of belie

: to give a false idea of (something)
: to show (something) to be false or wrong


be·​lie | \ bi-ˈlī How to pronounce belie (audio) \
belied; belying

Kids Definition of belie

1 : to give a false idea of Her voice was strong and even, belying her eighty-two years.— Kevin Henkes, Olive's Ocean
2 : to show to be false Their actions belie their claim of innocence.

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More from Merriam-Webster on belie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for belie

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with belie

Spanish Central: Translation of belie

Nglish: Translation of belie for Spanish Speakers

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