Definition of lie in English:


Syllabification: lie


1An intentionally false statement: Mungo felt a pang of shame at telling Alice a lie the whole thing is a pack of lies
More 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.
untruth, falsehood, fib, fabrication, deception, invention, fiction, piece of fiction, falsification; (little) white lie, half-truth, exaggeration
informal tall tale, whopper, taradiddle
1.1Used with reference to a situation involving deception or founded on a mistaken impression: all their married life she had been living a lie
More 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.
untruthfulness, fabrication, fibbing, perjury, white lies; falseness, falsity, dishonesty, mendacity, telling stories, invention, misrepresentation, deceit, duplicity
literary perfidy

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 lied
More 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.
tell an untruth, tell a lie, fib, dissemble, dissimulate, misinform, mislead, tell a white lie, perjure oneself, commit perjury, prevaricate
informal lie through one's teeth, stretch the truth
formal forswear oneself
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 sailor
More 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.
1.2(Of a thing) present a false impression; be deceptive: the camera cannot lie


Old English lyge (noun), lēogan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch liegen and German lügen.


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-ridden
More 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 little
More 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.

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Word of the day dinkum
Pronunciation: ˈdiNGkəm
(of an article or person) genuine