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[bih-lahy] /bɪˈlaɪ/
verb (used with object), belied, belying.
to show to be false; contradict:
His trembling hands belied his calm voice.
to misrepresent:
The newspaper belied the facts.
to act unworthily according to the standards of (a tradition, one's ancestry, one's faith, etc.).
Archaic. to lie about; slander.
Origin of belie
before 1000; Middle English belyen, Old English belēogan. See be-, lie1
Related forms
belier, noun
unbelied, adjective
1. refute, disprove, controvert, repudiate, confute, gainsay. 1, 2. See misrepresent.
1. prove, verify, support. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for belying
Historical Examples
  • The black swan was thought remarkable when discovered, as belying an old Latin proverb.

  • Toward herself, in particular, his feelings were too deep for him to succeed in belying them.

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • belying his war-like aspect he was harnessed to a child's express wagon which was loaded with milk cans and baskets.

    Ethel Morton at Chautauqua Mabell S. C. Smith
  • He was on his guard directly, and said coldly, "You have been belying me to my very clerk."

    Hard Cash Charles Reade
  • We have seen them belying all the pretty traditions about their modest and retiring ways.

    The Children's Book of Gardening Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick
  • They returned and were hooted for belying the bellicose by their mission, and interpreting too well the peaceful.

  • belying this cloutish exterior was a quietness of manner and the dreamy vision of a passionate student.

    Stover at Yale Owen Johnson
  • He looked at her, his bold eyes challenging, belying the amiable gentleness of his smile.

    A Poor Wise Man Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Meanwhile the Gadabout was belying her name, as now she was only drifting slowly with the current.

  • And some of these works have come forth, belying the prophecies of incredulous friends.

    Ralph the Heir Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for belying


verb (transitive) -lies, -lying, -lied
to show to be untrue; contradict
to misrepresent; disguise the nature of: the report belied the real extent of the damage
to fail to justify; disappoint
Derived Forms
belier, noun
Word Origin
Old English belēogan; related to Old Frisian biliuga, Old High German biliugan; see be-, lie1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for belying



Old English beleogan "to deceive by lies," from be- + lie (v.1) "to lie, tell lies." Current sense of "to contradict as a lie" is first recorded 1640s. The other verb lie once also had a formation like this, from Old English belicgan, which meant "to encompass, beleaguer," and in Middle English was a euphemism for "to have sex with" (i.e. "to lie with carnally").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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