\ ˈlü How to pronounce lieu (audio) \

Definition of lieu

in lieu in lieu of
: in the place of : instead of

Lieu vs. Loo vs. Lue

Due to its unusual Francophonic spelling, many people misspell lieu (which appears most often in the phrase in lieu of) as loo or lue. We even have evidence for people assuming the phrase is inlu of. It is, in fact, in lieu of. Lieu as a standalone noun means “place” and it’s now archaic. You can remember the spelling of lieu by using the mnemonic “lieu in everyday use.”

Examples of lieu in a Sentence

I have decided that in lieu of a going-away shower, those who wish to go in on a nice gift for her can see me after church. — Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home, 1989 Many of those pigs live here. Do they ever wonder why their masters walk upright in lieu of going on all-fours? — Charles Dickens, American Notes for General Circulation, 1842 But when she read, and re-read with the closest attention, the particulars immediately following of Wickham's resigning all pretensions to the living, of his receiving, in lieu, so considerable a sum as three thousand pounds, again was she forced to hesitate. — Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, 1813

First Known Use of lieu

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lieu

Middle English liue, from Anglo-French liu, lieu, from Latin locus — more at stall

Learn More About lieu

Time Traveler for lieu

Time Traveler

The first known use of lieu was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near lieu

lie to


lieu lands

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for lieu

Cite this Entry

“Lieu.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on lieu

Nglish: Translation of lieu for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lieu for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!