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lie

1
[ lahy ]
/ laɪ /
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noun
verb (used without object), lied, ly·ing.
to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive.
to express what is false; convey a false impression.
verb (used with object), lied, ly·ing.
to bring about or affect by lying (often used reflexively): to lie oneself out of a difficulty; accustomed to lying his way out of difficulties.

VIDEO FOR LIE

Two Nerdy Steps To Learn "Lay" vs. "Lie"

When we asked this woman the difference between lay and lie ... she couldn't answer right away. Maybe her nerdy steps to learn how to use these words will help you learn the difference between lay and lie too?

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Idioms about lie

    give the lie to,
    1. to accuse of lying; contradict.
    2. to prove or imply the falsity of; belie: His poor work gives the lie to his claims of experience.
    lie in one's throat / teeth, to lie grossly or maliciously: If she told you exactly the opposite of what she told me, she must be lying in her teeth.Also lie through one's teeth.

Origin of lie

1
First recorded before 900; (noun) Middle English leye, lighe; Old English lyge, lige; cognate with German Lüge, Old Norse lygi; akin to Gothic liugn; (verb) Middle English lien, ligen, leie, Old English lēogan (intransitive); cognate with German lügen, Old Norse ljūga, Gothic liugan

synonym study for lie

1. See falsehood.

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH lie

lie , lye

Other definitions for lie (2 of 3)

lie2
[ lahy ]
/ laɪ /

verb (used without object), lay, lain, ly·ing.
noun
Verb Phrases

Origin of lie

2
First recorded 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”

words often confused with lie

See lay1.

Other definitions for lie (3 of 3)

Lie
[ lee ]
/ li /

noun
Jonas, 1880–1940, U.S. painter, born in Norway.
(Ma·ri·us) So·phus [mah-ree-oos -soh-foos], /ˌmɑ ri ʊs ˈsoʊ fʊs/, 1842–99, Norwegian mathematician.
Tryg·ve Halv·dan [trig-vuh -hahlv-dahn; Norwegian tryg-vuh -hahlv-dahn], /ˈtrɪg və ˈhɑlv dɑn; Norwegian ˈtrüg və ˈhɑlv dɑn/, 1896–1968, Norwegian statesman: secretary-general of the United Nations 1946–53.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

LIE VS. LAY

What's the difference between lie and lay?

The sense of lie that’s often confused with lay means to be in or get into a reclining position—to recline, as in I just want to lie in bed for a few more minutes. Lay commonly means to put or place someone or something down, as in Lay the bags on the table or I’m going to lay the baby in the crib.

Though it’s considered nonstandard, lay is commonly used to mean the same thing as this sense of lie, as in I just want to lay in bed for a few more minutes.

The confusion between the two words is largely due to the fact that lay is also the past tense form of this sense of lie, as in I lay in bed yesterday morning wishing I could go back to sleep. The other tenses of this sense of lie are lain, as in I have lain in bed for the past three hours, and lying, as in I am lying in bed right now. (In contrast, when lie is used as a verb meaning to tell an untruth, its past tense is simply lied.)

The other tenses of lay are laid, as in I laid the bags on the table, and laying, as in Start laying the fruit here and the vegetables there.

Lay is typically used with an object, meaning someone or something is getting laid down by someone. In contrast, lie is something you do yourself without any other recipients of the action.

This sense of lie is commonly used in the verb phrase lie down, as in I was feeling tired so I decided to lie down. Using the phrase lay down to mean the same thing is considered nonstandard, but it’s also very common.

Lay down is also used as a verb phrase meaning about the same thing as lay, as in You can lay down your bags on the table (or You can lay your bags down on the table).

Although lay and lie are often used interchangeably in casual communication, it’s best to use them in the standard way in more formal contexts.

A good way to remember which one to use is to think about whether you could replace the word with put or recline. If you can replace it with put, you probably want to use lay, as in Please lay (put) the bags on the table. If you could replace the word with recline, you probably want to use lie, as in I just want to lie (recline) in bed for a few more minutes.

Here’s an example of lay and lie used correctly in the same sentence.

Example: He said he was just going to lay the blanket on the grass and lie on it for a few minutes, but he lied. After he laid the blanket down, he lay on it for two hours!

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between lie and lay.

Quiz yourself on lie vs. lay!

Should lie or lay be used in the following sentence?

I’m going to _____ down to take a nap.

How to use lie in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lie (1 of 3)

lie1
/ (laɪ) /

verb lies, lying or lied
(intr) to speak untruthfully with intent to mislead or deceive
(intr) to convey a false impression or practise deceptionthe camera does not lie
noun
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

Other words from lie

Related adjective: mendacious

Word Origin for lie

Old English lyge (n), lēogan (vb); related to Old High German liogan, Gothic liugan

British Dictionary definitions for lie (2 of 3)

lie2
/ (laɪ) /

verb lies, lying, lay (leɪ) or lain (leɪn) (intr)
noun

Word Origin for lie

Old English licgan akin to Old High German ligen to lie, Latin lectus bed

undefined lie

See lay 1

British Dictionary definitions for lie (3 of 3)

Lie
/ (liː) /

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

Medical definitions for lie

lie
[ lī ]

n.
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.

Other Idioms and Phrases with lie

lie

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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