Meaning of “lie” in the English Dictionary

"lie" in British English

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lieverb

uk /laɪ/ us /laɪ/

lie verb (POSITION)

A2 [ I + adv/prep, L ] present participle lying, past tense lay, past participle lain to be in or move into a horizontal position on a surface:

to lie in bed
to lie on a beach
to lie on your side
A cat lay in front of the fire.
He lies awake at night, worrying.
A pen lay on the desk.

B1 [ I + adv/prep, L ] present participle lying, past tense lay, past participle lain If something lies in a particular place, position, or direction, it is in that place, position, or direction:

There's an old pair of shoes of yours lying at/in the bottom of the wardrobe.
The river lies 30 km to the south.
The team is lying third in the league.
Here lies the body of Mary Taylor (= this is where Mary Taylor is buried).
There are several houses lying empty in the town.
The town lay in ruins.
The ship lies off (= is positioned near) the coast of Spain.

[ I + adv/prep ] present participle lying, past tense lay, past participle lain to exist:

The hardest part of the competition still lies ahead of us.

C2 [ I usually + adv/prep ] present participle lying, past tense lay, past participle lain If responsibility, blame, a decision, a choice, etc. lies with someone, they have responsibility, must make the decision, etc.:

Responsibility for the disaster must ultimately lie with the government.
Where does the blame lie?
lie in state present participle lying, past tense lay, past participle lain

When the dead body of an important person lies in state, it is arranged so that the public can see and honour it before it is buried.

More examples

  • It was very uncomfortable lying on the hospital bed with my legs suspended in the air.
  • He was lying under the table in a drunken stupor.
  • The ship has been lying on the seabed for more than 50 years.
  • My dog loves lying on the rug in front of the fire.
  • The town lies halfway between Rome and Florence.

lie verb (SPEAK FALSELY)

B1 [ I ] present participle lying, past tense lied, past participle lied to say or write something that is not true in order to deceive someone:

Are you lying to me?
Don't trust her - she's lying.
I suspect he lies about his age.
See also

More examples

  • If you're both going to lie, at least stick to the same story and don't contradict each other!
  • He studied the men's faces carefully, trying to work out who was lying.
  • Are you accusing me of lying?
  • The prime minister reacted angrily to claims that he had lied to the House of Commons.
  • He's never lied to me before, so I have no reason to doubt his word.

lienoun [ C ]

uk /laɪ/ us /laɪ/

B1 something you say that you know is not true:

I told a lie when I said I liked her haircut.

More examples

  • It's embarrassing to be caught telling a lie.
  • I wasn't entirely honest with him, I admit, but I didn't actually tell him any lies.
  • The story was nothing but lies.
  • Under cross-examination, the witness admitted her evidence had been mostly lies.
  • It's difficult to disentangle hard fact from myth, or truth from lies.

(Definition of “lie” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"lie" in American English

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lieverb

us /lɑɪ/

lie verb (POSITION)

present participle lying /ˈlɑɪ·ɪŋ/ , past tense lay /leɪ/ , past participle lain /leɪn/ to be in or move into a horizontal position on a surface:

[ I always + adv/prep ] The mechanic was lying on his back underneath my car.
[ I always + adv/prep ] I love to lie down in front of the fire and read.
[ L ] He lies awake at night, worrying.

present participle lying /ˈlɑɪ·ɪŋ/ , past tense lay /leɪ/ , past participle lain /leɪn/ If something lies in a particular place, position, condition, or direction it is in that place, position, condition, or direction:

[ I always + adv/prep ] The river lies 40 miles to the south of us.
[ I always + adv/prep ] You shouldn’t leave that check lying around (= not in its place).

lie verb (SPEAK FALSELY)

[ I/T ] present participle lying /ˈlɑi·ɪŋ/ , past tense and past participle lied to say something that is not true in order to deceive:

[ I ] Both witnesses lied to the police about what happened.
[ T always + adv/prep ] She lied her way past the guards.
lie
noun [ C ] us /lɑɪ/
(SPEAKING FALSELY)

Her report is full of lies and misinformation.

(Definition of “lie” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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