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verb (used with object), be·lied, be·ly·ing.
  1. to show to be false; contradict: His trembling hands belied his calm voice.
  2. to misrepresent: The newspaper belied the facts.
  3. to act unworthily according to the standards of (a tradition, one's ancestry, one's faith, etc.).
  4. Archaic. to lie about; slander.
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Origin of belie

before 1000; Middle English belyen, Old English belēogan. See be-, lie1
Related formsbe·li·er, nounun·be·lied, adjective


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1. refute, disprove, controvert, repudiate, confute, gainsay. 1, 2. See misrepresent.


1. prove, verify, support.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for belying

Historical Examples

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


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • You're a rum fellow, to belying out on the beach on a cold night.

  • Insisting on a future, he could not do homage to the belying simulacrum of the present.

  • He was on his guard directly, and said coldly, "You have been belying me to my very clerk."

    Hard Cash

    Charles Reade

  • He glanced at her and their eyes met, the reproach in his own belying his words.

    Jude the Obscure

    Thomas Hardy

British Dictionary definitions for belying


verb -lies, -lying or -lied (tr)
  1. to show to be untrue; contradict
  2. to misrepresent; disguise the nature ofthe report belied the real extent of the damage
  3. to fail to justify; disappoint
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Derived Formsbelier, noun

Word Origin

Old English belēogan; related to Old Frisian biliuga, Old High German biliugan; see be-, lie 1
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

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").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper