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

  • transitive v. To give a false representation to; misrepresent: "He spoke roughly in order to belie his air of gentility” ( James Joyce).
  • transitive v. To show to be false; contradict: Their laughter belied their outward grief.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To lie around; encompass.
  • v. To surround; beleaguer.
  • v. To show, evince, demonstrate: to show (something) to be present.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To show to be false; to convict of, or charge with, falsehood.
  • transitive v. To give a false representation or account of.
  • transitive v. To tell lie about; to calumniate; to slander.
  • transitive v. To mimic; to counterfeit.
  • transitive v. To fill with lies.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lie around; encompass; especially, to lie around, as an army; beleaguer.
  • To tell lies concerning; calumniate by false reports.
  • To give the lie to; show to be false; contradict.
  • To act unworthily of; fail to equal or come up to; disappoint: as, to belie one's hopes or expectations.
  • To give a false representation of; conceal the true character of.
  • To fill with lies.
  • To counterfeit; mimic; feign resemblance to.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. represent falsely
  • v. be in contradiction with


Middle English bilien, from Old English belēogan, to deceive with lies; see leugh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English belyen, beliggen, from Old English belicgan, bilicgan ("to lie around, surround, hedge in, encompass"), equivalent to be- (“around, by”) +‎ lie (to be positioned). Cognate with German beliegen. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English belyen, beleoȝen, from Old English belēogan ("to deceive by lying, be mistaken"), equivalent to be- (“about”) +‎ lie (to deceive). Cognate with Old Frisian biliaga ("to belie"), Dutch beliegen ("to belie"), German belügen ("to lie to"), Swedish beljuga ("to tell lies about"). (Wiktionary)



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  • to give a false representation to; misrepresent

    The smile on her face belies the pain she must feel after the death of her husband.

    October 11, 2016

  • from Webster's New Universal Unabridged: 3. to act unworthily according to the standards of (a tradition, one's ancestry, etc.)

    March 27, 2012