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lie 1

intr.v. lay (lā), lain (lān), ly·ing (lī′ĭng), lies
1. To be or place oneself at rest in a flat, horizontal, or recumbent position; recline: He lay under a tree to sleep.
2. To be placed on or supported by a surface that is usually horizontal: Dirty dishes lay on the table. See Usage Note at lay1.
3. To be or remain in a specified condition: The dust has lain undisturbed for years. He lay sick in bed.
a. To exist; reside: Our sympathies lie with the plaintiff.
b. To consist or have as a basis. Often used with in: The strength of his performance lies in his training.
5. To occupy a position or place: The lake lies beyond this hill.
6. To extend: Our land lies between these trees and the river.
7. To be buried in a specified place.
8. Law To be admissible or maintainable.
9. Archaic To stay for a night or short while.
1. The manner or position in which something is situated.
2. A haunt or hiding place of an animal.
3. Sports The position of a golf ball that has come to a stop.
Phrasal Verbs:
lie down
To do little or nothing: He's lying down on the job.
lie in
To be in confinement for childbirth.
lie to Nautical
To remain stationary while facing the wind.
lie with
1. To be decided by, dependent on, or up to: The choice lies with you.
2. Archaic To have sexual intercourse with.
1. To keep oneself or one's plans hidden.
2. To bide one's time but remain ready for action.

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

lie 2

1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
2. Something meant to deceive or mistakenly accepted as true: learned his parents had been swindlers and felt his whole childhood had been a lie.
v. lied, ly·ing (lī′ĭng), lies
1. To present false information with the intention of deceiving.
2. To convey a false image or impression: Appearances often lie.
To say or write as a lie.
lie through (one's) teeth
To lie outrageously or brazenly.

[Middle English, from Old English lyge; see leugh- in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: lie2, equivocate, fib, prevaricate
These verbs mean to evade or depart from the truth: a witness who lied under oath; didn't equivocate about her real purpose; fibbed to escape being scolded; didn't prevaricate but answered honestly.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.




  1. Falsehood, like poison, will generally be rejected when administered alone; but when blended with wholesome ingredients, may be swallowed unperceived —Richard Whately
  2. Falsehood, like the dry rot, flourishes the more in proportion as air and light are excluded —Richard Whately
  3. A great lie is like a great fish on dry land; it may fret and fling, and make a frightful bother, but it cannot hurt you. You have only to keep still and it will die of itself —George Crabbe
  4. (He’s as) honest as the cat when the meat’s out of reach —H. G. Bohn’s Handbook of Proverbs
  5. Lie as fast as a dog can lick a dish —John Ray’s Proverbs
  6. Lied as often and as badly as politicians —James Crumley
  7. Lied like a fish —John Dos Passos
  8. Lied like an Arab —Ana’s Nin
  9. Lied like a rug —Anon

    In his novel, private I Jimmy Sangster extends this with “Lying like a cheap carpet.”

  10. The lie fell as easily from his lips as a windfall apple —Donald Seaman
  11. A lie is like a snowball; the longer it is rolled, the larger it is —Martin Luther
  12. Lie like a trooper —American colloquialism, attributed to New England
  13. Lie like fish —Saul Bellow
  14. Lies are as communicative as fleas —Walter Savage Landor
  15. Lies as fast as a dog trots —John Ray’s Proverbs
  16. Lies as fast as a horse can trot —Danish proverb

    The comparison tends to change with use “As fast as a dog can trot” being one of the most frequently heard variants.

  17. Lies … buzz about the heads of some people, like flies about a horse’s ears in summer —Jonathan Swift
  18. Lies fall like flaxen thread from the skies —John Ashbery
  19. Lies flew out of my mouth like moths —Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
  20. Lies like a car-dealer —William Mcllvanney
  21. Lying like a book —Bertold Brecht
  22. Lying like an accountant at an audit —A. E. Maxwell
  23. Lying like stink —Angus Wilson
  24. Lying to someone is like blindfolding him: you cannot see the other’s eyes to see how he sees you and so you do not know how it stands with yourself —Walker Percy
  25. The nimble lie is like the second-hand upon a clock; we see it fly, while the hour-hand of truth seems to stand still, and yet it moves unseen, and wins at last, for the clock will not strike till it has reached the goal —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  26. (Our) one white lie sits like a little ghost (here on the threshold of our enterprise) —Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  27. The prevaricator is like an idolater —Eleazar
  28. The telling of a falsehood is like the cut of a sabre; for though the wound may heal, the scar of it will remain —Sadi
  29. To tell a falsehood is like the cut of a sabre; for though the wound may heal, the scar of it will remain —Sadi
  30. When the lie was said it had the effect of leaving her breathless, as if she had just crowned a steep rise —Nadine Gordimer
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
But it is not only the difficulty and labor, which men take in finding out of truth, nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor; but a natural, though corrupt love, of the lie itself.
"For there," and he pointed due west, "is much hunting; but between lies a great place where there is no food and no water, so they must go that way," and again he swung his hand through the half-circle that explained to Tarzan the great detour the apes made to come to their hunting ground to the west.
First of all, I said, there was that greatest of all lies, in high places, which the poet told about Uranus, and which was a bad lie too,-- I mean what Hesiod says that Uranus did, and how Cronus retaliated on him.
TWO MEN, one who always spoke the truth and the other who told nothing but lies, were traveling together and by chance came to the land of Apes.
Bad air is always about you and your repasts: your lascivious thoughts, your lies, and secrets are indeed in the air!
The geological formation of that portion of the American Union, which lies between the Alleghanies and the Rocky Mountains, has given rise to many ingenious theories.
This is to my mind the nicest spot in Whitby, for it lies right over the town, and has a full view of the harbour and all up the bay to where the headland called Kettleness stretches out into the sea.
And so it lies happily, Bathing in many A dream of the truth And the beauty of Annie -- Drowned in a bath Of the tresses of Annie.
He came and called him; and it was he who had called him and told him to lie down on Nikita.
"No, Mamma, I will lie down here on the floor," Natasha replied irritably and she went to the window and opened it.
This year the very dead we have loved shall come back to us again: for Spring can even lie like that.
You could think to come all the way over here from Jackson's Island in the night to laugh at our troubles, and you could think to fool me with a lie about a dream; but you couldn't ever think to pity us and save us from sorrow."