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 Bears are finding new reasons to bristle at soaring price-to-earnings ratios, while vanishing credit premiums belie default risk in the grip of the economic downturn. Cormac Mullen, Fortune, "‘Everything is expensive’ rally drives stocks to record valuations," 23 June 2020 Still other trout—often the largest ones—will be tight to the bank in slow-moving currents, rising with gentle dimples that belie their bulk. John Merwin, Field & Stream, "How to Fish for Trout During the Summer Trico Hatch," 23 June 2020 Rahman's professional interests, however, belie the more casual side of a young woman who loves Cardi B, the New York Yankees and Bollywood dancing, her friends said. Erica Orden, CNN, "How two promising lawyers found themselves facing life in prison for alleged Molotov cocktail attack during protests in NY," 17 June 2020 Still, Harris’ pleasant demeanor and ever-present smile belie her tough resolve, much of it acquired during her path as a rare person of color and a black woman in med school. NBC News, "Dr. Patrice Harris: A steady voice of leadership during a deadly pandemic," 9 June 2020 Yet across sector after sector, the facts on the ground seem to belie the optimism sweeping Wall Street. Garrett M. Graff, Wired, "A Better Jobs Report Belies America's Breadlines," 5 June 2020 Chucky Davis at the buzzer The score actually belied how dominant the Badgers were. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Next Ten: Badgers football delivers a stunner to No. 1 Michigan to open 1981 season," 30 May 2020 But the pomp of the ceremony belied the widespread view outside the White House that the plan is probably dead on arrival. David Wainer,, "Trump’s Mideast Plan Offers Rallying Cry for Embattled Netanyahu," 10 May 2020 This attitude belied a dark underbelly (the depression and the onset of a second World War). Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "The Fascinating History of Art Deco Design," 16 Mar. 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

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Belie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 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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