verb be·lie \ bi-ˈlī , bē- \
Updated on: 28 Jan 2018

Definition of belie

belied; belying
transitive verb
1 a : 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.
2 a : 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 3
  • An air of rural charm … belies the community's industrial activity.
  • American Guide Series: Pennsylvania


play \-ˈlī(-ə)r\ noun

belie was our Word of the Day on 12/26/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of belie in a Sentence

  1. a tree whose delicate beauty belies its real toughness

  2. Their actions belie their claim to be innocent.

Recent Examples of belie from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of belie

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

BELIE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of belie for English Language Learners

  • : to give a false idea of (something)

  • : to show (something) to be false or wrong

BELIE Defined for Kids


verb be·lie \ bi-ˈlī \

Definition of belie for Students

belied; belying
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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to blend or mix together

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