American English

Definition of lie verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    see also lie2Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they lie
    he / she / it lies
    past simple lay
    past participle lain
    -ing form lying
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  1. 1[intransitive] (of a person or an animal) to be or put yourself in a flat or horizontal position so that you are not standing or sitting + adv./prep. to lie on your back/side/front + adj. The cat was lying fast asleep by the fire.
  2. 2[intransitive] (of a thing) to be or remain in a flat position on a surface + adv./prep. Clothes were lying all over the floor. + adj. The book lay open on his desk.
  3. 3[intransitive] to be, remain, or be kept in a particular state + adj. Snow was lying thick on the ground. These machines have lain idle since the factory closed. + adv./prep. a ship lying at anchor I'd rather use my money than leave it lying in the bank.
  4. 4[intransitive] + adv./prep. (of a town, natural feature, etc.) to be located in a particular place The town lies on the coast.
  5. 5[intransitive] + adv./prep. to be spread out in a particular place The valley lay below us.
  6. 6[intransitive] lie (in something) (of ideas, qualities, problems, etc.) to exist or be found The problem lies in deciding when to intervene. compare lay
  7. Idioms
      hang/lie heavy
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    1. 1hang/lie heavy (on/in something) (of a feeling or something in the air) to be very noticeable in a particular place in a way that is unpleasant Smoke lay heavy on the far side of the water. Despair hangs heavy in the stifling air.
    2. 2hang/lie heavy on somebody/something to cause someone or something to feel uncomfortable or anxious The crime lay heavy on her conscience.
    let sleeping dogs lie (saying)
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    to avoid mentioning a subject or something that happened in the past, in order to avoid any problems or arguments
    lie ahead/in store
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    to be going to happen to someone in the future You are young and your whole life lies ahead of you. She didn't know what lay in store.
    lie in state
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    (of the dead body of an important person) to be placed on view in a public place before being buried
    lie in wait (for somebody)
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    to hide, waiting to surprise, attack, or catch someone He was surrounded by reporters who had been lying in wait for him.
    lie low (informal)
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    to try not to attract attention to yourself
    take something lying down
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    to accept an insult or offensive act without protesting or reacting
    you've made your bed and you must lie in it (saying)
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    you must accept the results of your actions
    Phrasal Verbslie aroundlie backlie behind somethinglie downlie with somebody (to do something)