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Belie

Definition: To fail in giving the desired impression; to display contradictory facts.

Pronunciation: bih-LAHY

Origin

Compounded of the verbs ‘to be’ and ‘lie’, the Old English word beleogan referred to any act of deceiving by lies.

Why this word?

When we say “David lied to me” we portray David to be dishonest and having mal intentions. Belie is also a sort of concealment of the truth, but it is not necessarily harmful or mal intentioned, as the motivation for it is deeper than simply telling a wrong fact. Belie has to do with facial expressions or speech tones and a relatively developed ability of seeing-through-the-other is needed to recognize it.

How to us belie?

To belie is not at all to tell a lie, it doesn’t necessarily entail speech or words; it is more a notion of contradicting impressions. When on a job interview, or a date for that matter, trying to look as confident as possible, our shaking hands have the ability to belie our calm expression. When trying to proudly cope with painful situations, the sorrowful look in our eyes belies the smile on our face. This verb is beautifully useful whence trying to portray feelings we don’t really feel.

Belie can also be used for contradictory facts; the evidence found in the crime scene belied the suspect’s testimony.

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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for UnusedWords.com. Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.

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