Definition of lie verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//laɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//laɪ//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they lie
    BrE BrE//laɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//laɪ//
    he / she / it lies
    BrE BrE//laɪz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//laɪz//
    past simple lay
    BrE BrE//leɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//leɪ//
    past participle lain
    BrE BrE//leɪn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//leɪn//
    -ing form lying
    BrE BrE//ˈlaɪɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈlaɪɪŋ//
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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.
  7. 7[intransitive] (British English) to be in a particular position during a competition + adv./prep. Thompson is lying in fourth place. + adj. After five games the German team are lying second.
  8. compare lay
    Word OriginOld English licgan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch liggen and German liegen, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek lektron, lekhos and Latin lectus ‘bed’.Extra examples A man lay dead in the middle of the road. He just lay there smiling. He was lying down on the bed. He was lying face down in the mud. I used to lie awake at night worrying about it. I was lying flat on the floor. Lie face up with your feet on the floor. Lie still while I put the bandage on. She lay on her stomach. She lay sprawled on the sofa. She likes to lie in bed all day. She was still lying naked on the bed. The answer seems to lie elsewhere. The big difference between them lies in their attitudes. The blame lies with your parents. We must be prepared for whatever lies ahead. She lay on her back and looked up at the sky. You could see from his face that he was lying.Idioms
    be/lie at the bottom of something
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    to be the original cause of something, especially something unpleasant We need to find out what lies at the bottom of these fears.
    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 somebody/something to feel uncomfortable or anxious The crime lay heavy on her conscience.
    (saying) to avoid mentioning a subject or something that happened in the past, in order to avoid any problems or arguments to be going to happen to somebody in the future You are young and your whole life lies ahead of you. She didn’t know what lay in store. (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 somebody He was surrounded by reporters who had been lying in wait for him.
    (informal) to try not to attract attention to yourself
    see, etc. how the land lies
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    (British English) to find out about a situation Let's wait and see how the land lies before we do anything.
    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/on it
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    (saying) you must accept the results of your actions
    Phrasal Verbslie aroundlie backlie behind somethinglie downlie inlie with somebody (to do something)