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[lahy] /laɪ/
verb (used without object), lay, lain, lying.
to be in a horizontal, recumbent, or prostrate position, as on a bed or the ground; recline.
Antonyms: stand.
(of objects) to rest in a horizontal or flat position:
The book lies on the table.
Antonyms: stand.
to be or remain in a position or state of inactivity, subjection, restraint, concealment, etc.:
to lie in ambush.
to rest, press, or weigh (usually followed by on or upon):
These things lie upon my mind.
to depend (usually followed by on or upon).
to be placed or situated:
land lying along the coast.
to be stretched out or extended:
the broad plain that lies before us.
to be in or have a specified direction; extend:
The trail from here lies to the west.
to be found or located in a particular area or place:
The fault lies here.
to consist or be grounded (usually followed by in):
The real remedy lies in education.
to be buried in a particular spot:
Their ancestors lie in the family plot.
Law. to be sustainable or admissible, as an action or appeal.
Archaic. to lodge; stay the night; sojourn.
the manner, relative position, or direction in which something lies:
the lie of the patio, facing the water.
Synonyms: place, location, site.
the haunt or covert of an animal.
Golf. the position of the ball relative to how easy or how difficult it is to play.
Verb phrases
lie by,
  1. to pause for rest; stop activities, work, etc., temporarily.
  2. to lie unused:
    Ever since the last member of the family died, the old house has lain by.
lie down, to assume a horizontal or prostrate position, as for the purpose of resting.
lie in,
  1. to be confined to bed in childbirth.
  2. Chiefly British. to stay in bed longer than usual, especially in the morning.
lie over, to be postponed for attention or action at some future time:
The other business on the agenda will have to lie over until the next meeting.
lie up,
  1. to lie at rest; stay in bed.
  2. (of a ship) to dock or remain in dock.
lie with,
  1. to be the duty or function of:
    The decision in this matter lies with him.
  2. Archaic. to have sexual intercourse with.
lie down on the job, Informal. to do less than one could or should do; shirk one's obligations.
lie in state. state (def 24).
lie low. low1 (def 51).
lie to, Nautical. (of a ship) to lie comparatively stationary, usually with the head as near the wind as possible.
take lying down, to hear or yield without protest, contradiction, or resistance:
I refuse to take such an insult lying down.
Origin of lie2
before 900; Middle English lien, liggen, Old English licgan; cognate with German liegen, Dutch liggen, Old Norse liggja, Gothic ligan; akin to Greek léchesthai to lie down
Usage note
See lay1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lie up
Historical Examples
  • When there's nothing going on, there is nothing going on, and you lie up.

    Soldiers Three, Part II. Rudyard Kipling
  • A gale of wind came on and nothing could be done but lie up.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
  • "We are not going to lie up to-night," said Captain Scott when asked to land.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • It would be best if you sent a boat and men to lie up in the little river.

    Hunting the Skipper George Manville Fenn
  • You and me, sir, having to lie up and be out of all the fun.

    Fix Bay'nets George Manville Fenn
  • I wish there was a safe spot where we could lie up until we see what it means.

  • Those which lie up rivers; a term in contradistinction to out-ports.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • "I am going to lie up for a while and rest," said Torpenhow.

  • I have heard of him, and of his Stables, which lie up somewhere in these mountains.

    The Tithe-Proctor William Carleton
  • When day comes we'll pull into some creek, and lie up till night returns.

    With the Dyaks of Borneo F. S. Brereton
British Dictionary definitions for lie up

lie up

verb (intransitive, adverb)
to go into or stay in one's room or bed, as through illness
to be out of commission or use: my car has been lying up for months


Trygve Halvdan (ˈtryɡvə ˈhalðan). 1896–1968, Norwegian statesman; first secretary-general of the United Nations (1946–52)


verb lies, lying, lied
(intransitive) to speak untruthfully with intent to mislead or deceive
(intransitive) to convey a false impression or practise deception: the camera does not lie
an untrue or deceptive statement deliberately used to mislead
something that is deliberately intended to deceive
give the lie to
  1. to disprove
  2. to accuse of lying
adjective mendacious
Word Origin
Old English lyge (n), lēogan (vb); related to Old High German liogan, Gothic liugan


verb (intransitive) lies, lying, lay (leɪ), lain (leɪn)
(often foll by down) to place oneself or be in a prostrate position, horizontal to the ground
to be situated, esp on a horizontal surface: the pencil is lying on the desk, India lies to the south of Russia
to be buried: here lies Jane Brown
(copula) to be and remain (in a particular state or condition): to lie dormant
to stretch or extend: the city lies before us
usually foll by on or upon. to rest or weigh: my sins lie heavily on my mind
(usually foll by in) to exist or consist inherently: strength lies in unity
(foll by with)
  1. to be or rest (with): the ultimate decision lies with you
  2. (archaic) to have sexual intercourse (with)
(of an action, claim, appeal, etc) to subsist; be maintainable or admissible
(archaic) to stay temporarily
lie in state, See state (sense 13)
lie low
  1. to keep or be concealed or quiet
  2. to wait for a favourable opportunity
the manner, place, or style in which something is situated
the hiding place or lair of an animal
  1. the position of the ball after a shot: a bad lie
  2. the angle made by the shaft of the club before the upswing
lie of the land
  1. the topography of the land
  2. the way in which a situation is developing or people are behaving
Word Origin
Old English licgan akin to Old High German ligen to lie, Latin lectus bed
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 lie up



"manner of lying," 1690s, from lie (v.2). Sense in golf is from 1857.



"speak falsely, tell an untruth," late 12c., from Old English legan, ligan, earlier leogan "deceive, belie, betray" (class II strong verb; past tense leag, past participle logen), from Proto-Germanic *leugan (cf. Old Norse ljuga, Danish lyve, Old Frisian liaga, Old Saxon and Old High German liogan, German lügen, Gothic liugan), from PIE root *leugh- "to tell a lie."



"rest horizontally," early 12c., from Old English licgan (class V strong verb; past tense læg, past participle legen) "be situated, reamin; be at rest, lie down," from Proto-Germanic *legjanan (cf. Old Norse liggja, Old Frisian lidzia, Middle Dutch ligghen, Dutch liggen, Old High German ligen, German liegen, Gothic ligan), from PIE *legh- "to lie, lay" (cf. Hittite laggari "falls, lies," Greek lekhesthai "to lie down," Latin lectus "bed," Old Church Slavonic lego "to lie down," Lithuanian at-lagai "fallow land," Old Irish laigim "I lie down," Irish luighe "couch, grave"). To lie with "have sexual intercourse" is from c.1300, and cf. Old English licgan mid "cohabit with." To take (something) lying down "passively, submissively" is from 1854.



"an untruth," Old English lyge "lie, falsehood," from Proto-Germanic *lugiz (cf. Old Norse lygi, Danish løgn, Old Frisian leyne (fem.), Dutch leugen (fem.), Old High German lugi, German Lüge, Gothic liugn "a lie"), from the root of lie (v.1). To give the lie to "accuse directly of lying" is attested from 1590s. Lie-detector first recorded 1909.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lie up in Medicine

lie (lī)
The manner or position in which something is situated, especially the relation that the long axis of a fetus bears to that of its mother.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for lie up


Related Terms

the big lie, a pack of lies

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with lie up
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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