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 belie (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 However, inertia sometimes results them implicitly making decisions that belie the wishes of their investors. Ike Brannon, Forbes, "Do Investment Managers Care About Their Proxy Votes?," 5 May 2021 And now that responsibility falls to Wilson, whose baby-faced looks belie his ultra-confident and competitive nature. Dennis Waszak Jr.,, "Jets draft BYU quarterback Zach Wilson with No. 2 pick," 29 Apr. 2021 The enforcement statistics from March belie that claim. Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Border crossings in March jumped to highest level in 15 years, data shows," 3 Apr. 2021 The two companies combined have 19 leading brands, but the brands themselves belie the star-power and notoriety of the designers whose careers the two companies spawned and fostered. Sanford Stein, Forbes, "Iconic Design Brands Herman Miller And Knoll Join Ranks," 19 Apr. 2021 The law, and the Japanese missions under it, belie an assertion in 2019 by then-US President Donald Trump that Japan didn't need to come to the aid of the US if America was attacked. Brad Lendon, CNN, "Japan increases protection for US military amid 'severe security environment'," 24 Feb. 2021 But their laughs on the swings and shrieks on the trampoline belie a deep sense of sadness -- because one person is missing. Nora Neus, CNN, "Hundreds of US families have been trying for a year to adopt children from China. They're still waiting," 26 Mar. 2021 Mecklenburg’s idyllic qualities belie a long and turbulent history. Sigrid Macrae, Harper's Magazine, "Two Germanys," 16 Mar. 2021 But all of the freaks’ requests that Lindsay stay with Nick belie that denial, don’t they? Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, "An Unlikely School Spirit Overtakes Freaks and Geeks," 13 Feb. 2021

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for belie

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Belie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for belie



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.

More from Merriam-Webster on belie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for belie

Nglish: Translation of belie for Spanish Speakers

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