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 Democrats’ limited expectations about their own power, even with a potential majority, belie the exaggerated claims Republicans have used in the Georgia races. Bill Barrow,, "In Georgia, Biden’s presidency meets early defining moment," 2 Jan. 2021 But these upbeat assertions belie what is being experienced at Elmhurst Hospital, where Covid cases and flulike illnesses continue their ominous rise. New York Times, "The Epicenter," 3 Dec. 2020 But the accessibility of her recipes, which tend to avoid long, intimidating lists of herbs and steps, belie their sophistication. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "Vegetarian Chef Deborah Madison Doesn’t Like to Preach," 11 Dec. 2020 Her soft curls, dimpled chin, dainty nightie, and vacant expression belie an inner grit. Abby Aguirre, Vogue, "The World According to Frances McDormand," 10 Dec. 2020 Often they are given local sounding names that belie their Washington origins. Brian Slodysko, Star Tribune, "Source of money behind GOP's new Georgia super PAC a mystery," 8 Dec. 2020 Ruben’s peroxide dye job and cheap-looking punk-life tattoos belie an innocence in his eyes, an innocence Ahmed infuses with wonder and terror, depending on the situation — and sometimes both. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "Riz Ahmed is terrific as a drummer losing his hearing in Amazon Prime's 'Sound of Metal'," 2 Dec. 2020 But the park’s assorted picnickers, joggers and children flying kites belie a long history of conflict, one that continues to this day. Louis Sahagún Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Proposed aerial tram for Dodger fans ignites controversy at Los Angeles State Historic Park," 26 Nov. 2020 But Zerwas's good cheer and health now belie how harrowing his brush with COVID was. Editorial Board Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "From nagging cough to the ICU in under 30 hours," 20 Nov. 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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for belie

Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Belie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on belie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for belie

Nglish: Translation of belie for Spanish Speakers

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