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- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /bɪˈlaɪ/, /bəˈlaɪ/
- (General American) IPA(key): /bɪˈlaɪ/, /bəˈlaɪ/, /biˈlaɪ/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -aɪ
- (transitive, obsolete) To lie around; encompass.
- (transitive, obsolete, of an army) To surround; beleaguer.
From Middle English belyen, beleoȝen, from Old English belēogan (“to deceive by lying, be mistaken”), from Proto-West Germanic *bileugan (“to belie”). Equivalent to be- (“about”) + lie (“to deceive”). Compare German belügen (“to tell a lie”).
- (transitive, archaic) To tell lies about. [from 13th c.]
- c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Fourth, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene iii], page 51:
- Thou do’ſt bely him Percy, thou doſt bely him; / He never did encounter with Glendower:
- (transitive) To give a false representation of. [from 17th c.]
- Synonym: misrepresent
- 1595 December 9 (first known performance), [William Shakespeare], The Tragedie of King Richard the Second. […] (First Quarto), London: […] Valentine Simmes for Androw Wise, […], published 1597, OCLC 213833262, [Act II, scene ii]:
- Should I do ſo I ſhould bely my thoughts, / Comfort's in heauen, and we are on the earth […]
- 1638, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy. […], 5th edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed [by Robert Young, Miles Flesher, and Leonard Lichfield and William Turner] for Henry Cripps, OCLC 932915040, partition II, section 2, member 6, subsection iv, page 198:
- He found it by experience, and made good uſe of it in his owne perſon, if Plutarch bely him not […].
- 2020 November 18, Paul Bigland, “New infrastructure and new rolling stock”, in Rail, page 49:
- Opposite, the Loram site contains a real ragbag of yellow, blue or rust-streaked kit whose appearance belies their importance in keeping the railways running.
- (transitive) To contradict, to show (something) to be false. [from 17th c.]
- 2001, Arun Kaul, “Kesar: The cultural geography of Kashmir”, in The Human Landscape, page 227:
- (transitive, rare) To call a liar; to accuse of falsehood. [from 17th c.]
- (transitive, rare) To fill with lies; to lie to.
- 1611 April (first recorded performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Cymbeline”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene iv], page 382, column 2:
- No, ’tis Slander, / Whoſe edge is ſharper then the Sword, whoſe tongue / Out-venomes all the Wormes of Nyle, whoſe breath / Rides on the poſting windes, / and doth belye All corners of the World.
- 2002 May 1, Bethesda Softworks, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, OCLC 986706305, Microsoft Windows, scene: Ashlander Informant:
- Three belied you, three betrayed you! One you betrayed was three times true! Lord Voryn Dagoth, Dagoth Ur, steadfast liegeman, faithful friend, bids you come and climb Red Mountain!
- (transitive, perhaps nonstandard) To conceal the contradictory or ironic presence of (something).
- His calm demeanor belied his inner sense of guilt.
- 2013 August 31, Elizabeth Koh, “Fighting Pest, Farmers Find Strange Ally: A Drought”, in New York Times:
- The rosy outlook belies a struggle to achieve statewide eradication that has persisted since the insect first crossed the border from Mexico around 1892.
- 2019, Li Huang; James Lambert, “Another Arrow for the Quiver: A New Methodology for Multilingual Researchers”, in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, DOI:10.1080/01434632.2019.1596115, page 8:
- At NIE the virtually monolingual linguistic landscape basically belies a quite different multilingual reality.
- (transitive, perhaps nonstandard) To show, evince or demonstrate (something) to be present, particularly something deemed contradictory or ironic.
- 2016 August 3, Jeanne Marie Laskas, “Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns”, in GQ Online:
- […] a low, flat, boring building that belies its past as an IRS facility […]
- (obsolete) To mimic; to counterfeit.
to give a false representation
to tell lies about
to contradict or show to be false