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



; laɪ
see also lie2
lies, lying, lay
; leɪ
; leɪn
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+ adverb/preposition to lie on your back/side/front+ adjective The cat was lying fast asleep by the fire.2 [intransitive] (of a thing) to be or remain in a flat position on a surface+ adverb/preposition Clothes were lying all over the floor.+ adjective The book lay open on his desk.3 [intransitive] to be, remain or be kept in a particular state+ adjective Snow was lying thick on the ground.These machines have lain idle since the factory closed.+ adverb/preposition a ship lying at anchorI'd rather use my money than leave it lying in the bank.4 [intransitive] + adverb/preposition (of a town, natural feature, etc.) to be located in a particular placeThe town lies on the coast.5 [intransitive] + adverb/preposition to be spread out in a particular placeThe valley lay below us.6 [intransitive] lie (in something) (of ideas, qualities, problems, etc.) to exist or be foundThe problem lies in deciding when to intervene.7 [intransitive] (British English) to be in a particular position during a competition+ adverb/preposition Thompson is lying in fourth place.+ adjective After five games the German team are lying second. compare lay

lie ahead/in store

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.

lie in state

(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)

to hide, waiting to surprise, attack or catch somebody
He was surrounded by reporters who had been lying in wait for him.

lie low

(informal) to try not to attract attention to yourself

take something lying down

to accept an insult or offensive act without protesting or reacting
more at you've made your bed and you must lie on it at bed n., be/lie at the bottom of something at bottom n., hang/lie heavy at heavy adverb, see, etc. how the land lies at land n., let sleeping dogs lie at sleep v.
Phrasal verbs

lie around

(British English also lie about)1 to be left somewhere in an untidy or careless way, not put away in the correct placeDon't leave toys lying around—someone might trip over them.2 (of a person) to spend time doing nothing and being lazy related noun layabout

lie back

to do nothing except relaxYou don't have to do anything—just lie back and enjoy the ride.

lie behind something

to be the real reason for something, often hiddenWhat lay behind this strange outburst?

lie down

to be or get into a flat position, especially in bed, in order to sleep or restGo and lie down for a while.He lay down on the sofa and soon fell asleep. related noun lie-down

lie in

(British English) (also sleep in North American English, British English) to stay in bed after the time you usually get upIt's a holiday tomorrow, so you can lie in. related noun lie-in

lie with somebody (to do something)

(formal) to be somebody's duty or responsibilityIt lies with you to accept or reject the proposals.