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




betray, represent

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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

In his first book are jellyfish that look like flowers, protists that resemble Fabergé eggs, presented like crown jewels on black velvet, the seeming cosmic vastness of the images belying their actual, microscopic size. The New York Review of Books, "Lucy Jakub," 16 Dec. 2018 Any indifference on the field, however, was belied by a vibrant atmosphere in the stands. Jack Harriswriter, Los Angeles Times, "Fans relish chance to see Arsenal and Bayern Munich in ‘once in a lifetime’ experience," 17 July 2019 And his populist rhetoric has been belied by a policy agenda, including a tax-cut package in 2017, that has been well in keeping with the inequality-exacerbating orthodoxy of conservative economics. Osita Nwanevu, The New Yorker, "Tom Steyer, the Democrats’ Billionaire for the People?," 14 July 2019 But the court, upholding a federal judge’s ruling, said the argument was belied both by the nature of Trump’s tweets and by his administration’s characterization of his account. Bob Egelko,, "Court rules Trump can’t deny access to his tweets — First Amendment applies," 9 July 2019 But the essence of Biden’s argument is belied by the public record. NBC News, "For Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, integration's painful past becomes the present," 28 June 2019 Both Padres rookies have a presence — even a prescience — that belies their age and experience level. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres notes: Quantrill, Tatis get it done; Urias’ perfect night; Morejon to open," 28 July 2019 But there’s a cultural issue here that belies not the pipeline, but the entire system that the pipeline operates in. Allyson Kapin, Quartz, "We’ve debunked tech’s “pipeline problem.” So why aren’t more women getting funding?," 24 July 2019 This shows that causality is an intensely practical concept that belies mathematical fairness. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘The Slippery Math of Causation’," 29 June 2018

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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Statistics for belie

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for belie

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

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on belie

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with belie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for belie

Spanish Central: Translation of belie

Nglish: Translation of belie for Spanish Speakers

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suitable to be imparted to the public

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