from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To be or place oneself at rest in a flat, horizontal, or recumbent position; recline.
  • intransitive verb To be placed on or supported by a surface that is usually horizontal.
  • intransitive verb To be or remain in a specified condition.
  • intransitive verb To exist; reside.
  • intransitive verb To consist or have as a basis. Often used with in:
  • intransitive verb To occupy a position or place.
  • intransitive verb To extend.
  • intransitive verb To be buried in a specified place.
  • intransitive verb Law To be admissible or maintainable.
  • intransitive verb Archaic To stay for a night or short while.
  • noun The manner or position in which something is situated.
  • noun A haunt or hiding place of an animal.
  • noun Sports The position of a golf ball that has come to a stop.
  • idiom (lie) To keep oneself or one's plans hidden.
  • idiom (lie) To bide one's time but remain ready for action.
  • noun A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
  • noun Something meant to deceive or mistakenly accepted as true.
  • intransitive verb To present false information with the intention of deceiving.
  • intransitive verb To convey a false image or impression.
  • intransitive verb To say or write as a lie.
  • idiom (lie through (one's) teeth) To lie outrageously or brazenly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A false statement made with the purpose of deceiving; an intentional untruth; a falsehood; the utterance by speech or act of that which is false, with intent to mislead or delude.
  • noun That which is intended or serves to deceive or mislead; anything designed or adapted to produce false conclusions or expectations: as, this epitaph is a lie.
  • noun Synonyms Untruth, deception. Compare fib.
  • noun An obsolete spelling of lye.
  • noun An obsolete form of lee.
  • To speak falsely; utter untruth for the purpose of misleading; make a misrepresentation consciously: followed by about, etc., and formerly (and still sometimes colloquially) by on.
  • To make a false impression, either consciously or unconsciously; hold forth a misleading or deceitful appearance; act or manifest an untruth: used of both persons and things.
  • noun An obsolete form of lee.
  • In heraldry, same as stringed.
  • noun In golf:
  • noun The angle which the shaft of a club makes with the head. A club has a flat lie when the angle is very obtuse, and an upright lie when it is less obtuse.
  • noun The position of a ball at rest on the course.
  • noun Manner of lying; relative direction, position, arrangement, etc. See lay, n., 4.
  • noun The place where a bird, beast, or fish is accustomed to lie or lurk; haunt.
  • noun In railroading, a siding or short offset from the main line, into which trucks may be run for the purpose of loading and unloading; one of the different sets of rails at a terminus on which trucks stand while being loaded or unloaded.
  • To rest in a recumbent or prostrate position; remain or be held flatwise, lengthwise, or inclined on a supporting surface; recline or be prone or supine on something.
  • To be in a quiescent state; be or become quiet or inactive; remain passive or expectant.
  • To lay or place one's self in a recumbent or prostrate position; take a reclining posture: often followed by down when entire prostration is intended: as, to lie back in a chair; to lie down on the ground.
  • To have place, position, or direction; be situated, set, or settled; stay or abide: as, the Azores lie in the Atlantic ocean; the army lay in a fortified camp.
  • To be confined or imprisoned.
  • To rest or remain in a state or condition; continue inactive or unchanged: as, to lie in soak; the land lies fallow.
  • To be in a certain direction; be present in a particular place or thing; be found; exist.
  • To lodge; pass the night; sleep.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English lien, from Old English licgan; see legh- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English lyge; see leugh- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English lien, liggen, from Old English licgan, from Proto-Germanic *ligjanan, from Proto-Indo-European *legʰ-. Cognate with Danish ligge, Dutch liggen, German liegen, Gothic 𐌻𐌹𐌲𐌰𐌽 (ligan), Swedish ligga; and with Latin lectus ("bed"), Irish luighe, Russian лежать, Albanian lagje ("inhabited area, neighbourhood").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English lien ("to lie, tell a falsehood"), from Old English lēogan ("to lie"), from Proto-Germanic *leuganan (“to lie”), from Proto-Indo-European *leugh- (“to lie, swear, bemoan”). Cognate with Dutch liegen ("to lie"), German lügen ("to lie"), Danish lyve ("to lie"), Swedish ljuga ("to lie"), Bulgarian лъжа ("to lie"), Russian лгать ("to lie").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English lyġe ("lie, falsehood"), from Proto-Germanic *lugiz (“lie, falsehood”), from Proto-Indo-European *leugh- (“to tell lies, swear, complain”). Cognate with Old Saxon luggi ("a lie"), Old High German lugī (German Lüge, "a lie"), Danish løgn ("a lie"), Bulgarian лъжа ("а lie"),


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  • "'My mom taught me how to lie. She always lied to the police, to everybody,' he told a therapist after throwing scissors in school. 'I lied when I was 1 year old, I lied when I was 2 years old. I was born a liar and I will always be lying,' he said in another therapy session."

    - 7-Year-Old With Troubled Past Commits Suicide,, 26 April 2009.

    April 27, 2009

  • This word embarrasses me. I associate it with the failure of my own willpower. I feel guilty when I hear it.

    An explanation: As you probably know, the word lie, as in "I lie on the bed/I lay on the bed/I had lain on the bed", is dying out. Its duties have been mostly taken up by lay, a word that used to be transitive only ("I lay the pillow on the bed/I laid the pillow on the bed/I had laid the pillow on the bed"), but now is used intransitively ("I lay on the bed/I laid on the bed/I had laid on the bed".)

    For a while, I fought to keep lie alive. I'd make snarky comments to my friends, things like "You can't 'lay' on the bed unless you're a chicken", and then when they gave me the inevitable confused look, I'd launch into a sermon about the glories of the lie/lay distinction. It never really worked, and I was beginning to despair, and then...

    ...then I asked myself "Why are we preserving this stupid distinction, anyway?" Plenty of verbs work do double-duty as transitive and intransitive verbs, and they all work perfectly well. Why fight this one? Let it take over. Let lie die out. And as a bonus, if lie does die out, it would (1) eliminate confusion with the homonym "lie", meaning "to knowingly give false information", and (2) help reduce the number of irregular verbs in English. Surely that's a noble cause.

    So now the conclusion I've reached, and my official position if anyone asks, is that we should use "lay" for both transitive and intransitive purposes, and that "lie" should die a speedy death.

    And yet... despite all this thought and effort and determination... I can't bring myself to do it. Apparently, there's a prescriptivist demon deep inside of me, forcing me to abide by the "formal rules" of English. My "lays" and "lies" still drop precisely into place, to match the transitivity of what I'm saying, and I don't know how to make it stop.

    January 19, 2010

  • The dieoff ptero writes of is much lesser in Australia and Britain in my opinion.

    June 5, 2014