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 Shifting Money Two of the biggest new taxes were supposed to apply to multinational corporations, and lawmakers bestowed them with easy-to-pronounce acronyms — BEAT and GILTI — that belie their complexity. New York Times, "How Big Companies Won New Tax Breaks From the Trump Administration," 30 Dec. 2019 His shooting range, passing ability and confidence belie his pedigree. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors pleased with Alen Smailagic’s progress in G League," 18 Dec. 2019 His core argument essentially belies a case for the absence of willfulness,’’ Mosman said. oregonlive, "Judge finds Columbia City man guilty of failing to file tax returns after excluding religious objection as viable defense," 9 Dec. 2019 And the day was all about Bloom, the 36-year-old former Tampa Bay executive whose tender age belies a long, deep baseball résumé and whose reputation for collaboration and forward thinking earned him this chance to take the reins of a franchise., "Alex Cora.," 30 Oct. 2019 Like his many pasta-making endeavors, the finished product is elegant and spare, belying hours of careful effort. Los Angeles Times, "At Colapasta in downtown Santa Monica, a Michelin-starred chef returns to his roots," 9 Oct. 2019 Loail is an ogier, a human-like species described in the books as big, strong, and hairy, which might belie (to the casual observer) their intelligence and peaceful natures. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Amazon’s new fantasy series, Wheel of Time, adds four more cast members," 4 Dec. 2019 Her brown skin is smooth, her hands belying their age. Michelle Matthews |, al, "At 100, this amazing woman still works five days a week," 12 Nov. 2019 After another round of violent clashes overnight, the city settled into an eerie quiet on Saturday, belying the undercurrent of anger over the government’s decision. Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, "A Provocateur of the Hong Kong Protests Gains Growing Stature," 5 Oct. 2019

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

13 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Belie.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 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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