verb (lies, lying /ˈlī-iNG/; past lay /lā/; past participle lain /lān/)[no object]
- 1(Of a person or animal) be in or assume a horizontal or resting position on a supporting surface: the man lay face downward on the grass I had to lie down for two hours because I was groggy Lily lay back on the pillows and watched himMore example sentences
- You'll lie here and rest until the young master recommends otherwise for you!
- By 11.30 pm, my stomach was growling and I was lying horizontal on the sofa yawning, as she made mention yet again of leaving.
- She was lying, asleep we assumed, on the carpet outside our bedroom door.
- 1.1(Of a thing) rest flat on a surface: a book lay open on the tableMore example sentences
- The walls were made of stone and a small pallet lay by two book cases.
- Beer bottles and cups were scattered about the room and a pizza box lay open on the table.
- He circled around the machine to where a sole book lay on a work surface.
- 1.2(Of a dead person) be buried in a particular place.More example sentences
- For more than 400 years, the remains of James Hepburn, the 4th Earl of Bothwell, have lain in a Danish church where they were turned into a grisly tourist attraction.
- The corpses were left where they lay pending forensic examination today.
- He lies among the remains of pontiffs from centuries past and near the tomb traditionally believed to be of the Apostle Peter, the first pope.
- 2Be, remain, or be kept in a specified state: the church lies in ruins today putting homeless families into apartments that would otherwise lie emptyMore example sentences
- After all, there would be no point in saving a building just for it to lie empty and rot.
- As a child I wandered through it when it lay silent and empty.
- For 170 years Ballina's Augustinian Abbey has lain derelict and inconspicuous at the bottom of Ardnaree near St Muredach's Cathedral.
- 2.1(Of something abstract) reside or be found: the solution lies in a return to “traditional family values.”More example sentences
- Similarly, our comedies season is not just about laughter, but the yearning for harmony and reconciliation which lies at the heart of Shakespeare's great comedies.
- The Belgian band encapsulated the friendly spirit of fraternity that lies at the heart of folk.
- It's the coming together with a common purpose of two such different men that lies at the heart of his novel.
- 3(Of a place) be situated in a specified position or direction: the small town of Swampscott lies about ten miles north of BostonMore example sentences
- The town of Shanhaiguan lies on a five mile sliver of plain between mountains and sea, a pass that opens like an avenue into the heart of China.
- Bishop's Crossing is a small village lying ten miles in a south-westerly direction from Liverpool.
- The neutral locus lies at two different positions between two selected loci.
- 3.1(Of a scene) extend from the observer’s viewpoint in a specified direction: stand here, and all of Amsterdam lies before youMore example sentences
- Wind whistled against the hole in the back wall, which heightened the eerie effect of the scene which lay before them.
- An open door lay beyond them and Chris could see the first few steps of the staircase that would lead him to the top floor.
- 4 Law (Of an action, charge, or claim) be admissible or sustainable.More example sentences
- Before the judge and before us there was some debate whether such a claim lies for breach of fiduciary duty generally or only those which also involve the misapplication of property.
- Where a policy provides cover against one of two or more concurrent causes of a casualty, a claim will lie under the policy provided that there is no relevant exclusion.
- Prerogative remedies for criminal charges will not ordinarily lie where an appeal is available.
noun(usually the lie) Back to top
- 1The way, direction, or position in which something lies.More example sentences
- With the lie of Scottish theatreland already shifting, we are seeing a nascent, semiconscious shuffling for position for next year's awards.
- Then, too, I am scared of tying too much money up here, not being entirely sure where the lie of the politics is.
- You should brush along the lie of the hair, and in the places hardest for the cat to reach such as under the chin and the back of the neck.
- 1.1 Golf The position in which a golf ball comes to rest, especially as regards the ease of the next shot.More example sentences
- Change the lie and the shot to keep your mind engaged.
- You can play this shot off any lie, even bare ground if your wedge has minimal bounce.
- As the lie gets deeper, the ball automatically goes farther back in your stance.
let something lie
- Take no action regarding a controversial or problematic matter.More example sentences
- Having done so in 1993 and having been told to get lost, he had essentially let matters lie.
- At that point there was no opportunity of changing them but the team captain chose not to let the matters lie but instead continued to agitate about them, particularly in the newspaper article.
- He said last night that he would not let the matter lie and that he would make an official complaint as it was a clear breach of the rules.
lie heavy on one
- Cause one to feel troubled or uncomfortable.More example sentences
- At night the stars lay heavy on me, but I'd be stuffed if I'd ever say something like that to anyone.
- Our relationship, now infected with deceit, lay heavy on me.
lie in state
- (Of the corpse of a person of national importance) be laid in a public place of honor before burial.More example sentences
- And then at 8: 30 Eastern tomorrow night, the body will lie in state for the public.
- For eight decades he has been lying in state on public display, a cadaver in a succession of dark suits, encased in a glass box beside a walkway in the basement of his granite mausoleum.
- The body will then lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda so that the public will be able to pay tribute to him.
lie in wait
- Conceal oneself, waiting to surprise, attack, or catch someone.More example sentences
- Don't think of the garden spot as a place where a wide variety of animals, miniscules and vegetables are lying in wait to attack the plants you want to grow.
- He had been drinking at a pub near his home when he hid in the toilets and lay in wait to attack an innocent member of the public.
- The gunman appeared to have lain in wait and caught him as he was walking out of his home in an unlit alleyway.
- (Especially of a criminal) keep out of sight; avoid detection or attention: at the time of the murder, he appears to have been lying low in a barnMore example sentences
- If the criminal was found lying low for a protracted period, the surveillance would automatically be lessened.
- This keen perception also alerts them when it's time to lay low and avoid trouble.
- Since they are flying mostly at night (back in those early days of the war), our main challenge is to lie low and take cover while letting them hit those empty barracks or the dummies.
take something lying down
- [usually with negative] Accept an insult, setback, rebuke, etc., without reacting or protesting.More example sentences
- The visitors refused to take this setback lying down and almost immediately forced a corner.
- Congressional wildlife supporters didn't take the ambush lying down.
- This was never the kind of game where players took things lying down.
- Be going to happen; be in store: I’m excited by what lies aheadMore example sentences
- Why has God cursed me with such a gift, to see what lies ahead in a town with such hardships and pain ahead?
- I would add that the conference's refined dialogue and inquiry did not blunt the prickly sense of more image-trouble lying ahead.
- ‘I think there are big problems lying ahead and one day those donor countries will wake up,’ he says.
- (Of an object) be left carelessly out of place: there were pills and potions lying around in every corner of the houseMore example sentences
- Too many innocent lives are lost owing to power cables left lying around carelessly.
- I did consider having a quick rake around to see if anything significant was lying around, but thought better of it.
- Big, dirty green and around the size of footballs they lay around till late evening when the courtyard is cleaned for the procession.
- (Of a person) pass the time lazily or aimlessly: you all just lay around all day on your backsides, didn’t you?More example sentences
- Instead, relaxing, lying around in bed, going out and eating nice food was the order of the day.
- I'd basically lie around and wait for it to pass.
- No one came over, no one went out, and we just lied around and hung out as a family.
- Be the real, often hidden, reason for (something): a subtle strategy lies behind such silly claimsMore example sentences
- They're exposing the hidden stories that lie behind such killings: stories about property, money and unpaid loans.
- So you can't tell what reasons lie behind terror attacks.
- The reasons that lie behind this unsurpassed forging of great language are open to debate.
- 1(Of a responsibility or problem) be attributable to (someone): the ultimate responsibility for the violence lies with the country’s presidentMore example sentences
- The upgrade of roads linking Carlow town to these junctions is not regarded as part of the overall scheme, with responsibility for these roads lying with Carlow County Council should the need for their upgrade arise.
- Some blame her, some blame her adversaries on the board, while others see the responsibility as lying with all of the warring parties.
- As for contributing comments, the responsibility lies with each posting entity.
- 2 • archaic Have sexual intercourse with.More example sentences
- First, notice that this passage says absolutely nothing about a woman lying with a woman.
- He said it would be better to kill the grown women, and save just ‘the young girls who have not known man by lying with him.’
- They deflowered themselves upon the carved phalli of Hermes, Tutunus, Priapus or some other ‘anointed’ god before lying with their bridegrooms.
Old English licgan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch liggen and German liegen, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek lektron, lekhos and Latin lectus 'bed'.
The verb lie (‘assume a horizontal or resting position’) is often confused with the verb lay (‘put something down’), giving rise to incorrect uses such as he is laying on the bed (correct use is he is lying on the bed ) or why don’t you lie the suitcase on the bed? (correct use is why don’t you lay the suitcase on the bed? ). The confusion is only heightened by the fact that lay is not only the base form of to lay, but is also the past tense of to lie, so while he is laying on the bed is incorrect, he lay on the bed yesterday is quite correct. For more discussion of these lie and lay verb forms, see lay1 (usage).
- 1An intentionally false statement: Mungo felt a pang of shame at telling Alice a lie the whole thing is a pack of liesMore example sentences
- And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.
- It implies that everything up until now has been a pack of lies.
- I was appalled at the political mileage that was made out of a pack of lies told about desperate people in need.
- 1.1Used with reference to a situation involving deception or founded on a mistaken impression: all their married life she had been living a lieMore example sentences
- To be forced to present themselves as if they were lay persons is for them a very painful deception; they feel that they are living a lie.
- It encouraged me to live deceitfully; I enjoyed living a lie.
- Eight ordinary people have left behind their regular lives to take part in the series, taking on a fake alias and living a lie.
verb (lies, lying /ˈlī-iNG/, lied)[no object] Back to top
- 1Tell a lie or lies: why had Wesley lied about his visit to Philadelphia? [with direct speech]: “I am sixty-five,” she liedMore example sentences
- The police later lied and said he had damaged the bus.
- If we do, that would be tantamount to lying, deceit or unprofessionalism.
- At every stage he has lied, prevaricated and obstructed this process of disarmament.
- 1.1 (lie one's way into/out of) Get oneself into or out of a situation by lying: you lied your way on to this voyage by implying you were an experienced sailorMore example sentences
- When I was a child, I would lie my way out of any situation.
- We claim that we are friends, and yet we keep secrets from each other, lying our way out of most everything.
- I pretty much lied my way out of there, just so I could get home and hurt myself again.
give the lie to
- Serve to show that (something seemingly apparent or previously stated or believed) is not true: these figures give the lie to the notion that Britain is excessively strike-riddenMore example sentences
- This, and other, exceptions to a ‘true’ meritocracy give the lie to protestations that merit admissions are in fact the order of the day at the Nation's universities.
- These figures give the lie to claims that Australia cannot afford increased defence spending.
- Bucking the national trend, 82 per cent of voters turned out, giving the lie to all the talk of voter apathy.
I tell a lie (or that's a lie)
- • informal An expression used to correct oneself immediately when one realizes that one has made an incorrect remark: I never used to dream—I tell a lie, I did dream when I was littleMore example sentences
- Actually, that's a lie, I returned to York on Monday night but this is the first time I've actually sat down at my computer to go through my e-mails.
- Actually that's a lie; I've seen daughter #3 covet some of the things in that shop and she's almost 19!
- Actually, that's a lie - we managed to establish that we both love liquorice.
lie through one's teeth
- • informal Tell an outright lie without remorse.More example sentences
- Their continued obfuscation, their attempts to throw dust in people's eyes, leads me to believe that they're lying through their teeth.
- But then, lying through your teeth and being caught out is never a terrific PR conquest.
- The Council are lying through their teeth on this issue and I'm still not convinced that someone cannot be held criminally responsible for all this.
Old English lyge (noun), lēogan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch liegen and German lügen.