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

Other Words from belie

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for belie



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"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 Old English, belie meant "to deceive by lying," and, in time, was used to mean "to tell lies about," taking on a sense similar to that of the modern word slander. Eventually, 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 initial response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine seemed to belie their perception of Western weakness, but the resolve of the U.S., France and Germany appears to be wilting. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 Brenda Castillo, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said on Monday that the new figures belie a more complex landscape at the industry level. Daniel Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2021 Ahead of Thursday’s GDP data release, Biden administration officials argued the second-quarter figures would belie the economy’s overall strength as reflected in the labor market, household balance sheets and other areas. Amara Omeokwe, WSJ, 28 July 2022 Although Anne is said to be tormented over the loss of her onetime lover, little beyond her words to the audience suggests her smirks belie inner turmoil. Sonia Rao, Washington Post, 16 July 2022 Classic European features of this home belie its modern construction — it was only built in 1995. Ko Lyn Cheang, The Indianapolis Star, 24 May 2022 His warmth and West Coast informality belie an intensity and urgency to get things done. Globe Staff,, 27 June 2022 Banks have faced a global pandemic, a sharp but short-lived recession and an economy that is full of unusual wrinkles, but the profit swings belie that their revenue has remained flat and their performance has been steady. David Benoit, WSJ, 3 June 2022 Torched trees and ashen cactus stumps belie an understory of resurgent shrubs and wildflowers. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

13 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Belie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for belie


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on belie

Nglish: Translation of belie for Spanish Speakers


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