When you don't tell the truth, you lie. You also lie down when you're sleepy and wonder what lies ahead of you.

If we leave aside the lie that is an untruth, most meanings of lie are related. If something lies ahead of us, then it's there, down the road, waiting for us. If mountains lie to the east, we can think of them as having settled down there. If something lies unused, it is just sort of left to lie on the shelf (or wherever). If you let a sleeping dog lie, you're just letting him be right where he is — in the same position.

Definitions of lie
  1. verb
    be lying, be prostrate; be in a horizontal position
    “The sick man lay in bed all day”
    “the books are lying on the shelf”
    lie down
    assume a reclining position
    see moresee less
    sit, sit down
    be seated
    stand, stand up
    be standing; be upright
    seat, sit, sit down
    show to a seat; assign a seat for
    place upright, stand, stand up
    put into an upright position
    sit, sit down
    take a seat
    show more antonyms...
    show 9 types...
    hide 9 types...
    sun, sunbathe
    expose one's body to the sun
    sit or lie with one's limbs spread out
    recline, recumb, repose
    lean in a comfortable resting position
    lie upon; lie on top of
    lie awake
    lie without sleeping
    lie when dead
    be exposed
    be at rest
    stand with arms and legs spread out
  2. verb
    assume a reclining position
    lie down on the bed until you feel better”
    synonyms: lie down
    see moresee less
    arise, get up, rise, stand up, uprise
    rise to one's feet
    stretch, stretch out
    lie down comfortably
    lie down on command, of hunting dogs
    bow down, prostrate
    get into a prostrate position, as in submission
    type of:
    change posture
    undergo a change in bodily posture
  3. verb
    be and remain in a particular state or condition
    lie dormant”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  4. verb
    be located or situated somewhere; occupy a certain position
    have a place in relation to something else
    see moresee less
    show 24 types...
    hide 24 types...
    lie in a sheltered position
    be placed or located between other things or extend between spaces and events
    be at the top of or constitute the top or highest point
    occupy an intermediate or middle position or form a connecting link or stage between two others
    lie moored or anchored
    lie partly over or alongside of something or of one another
    focalise, focalize, localise, localize
    concentrate on a particular place or spot
    lie obliquely
    precede, predate
    come before
    lie underneath
    cap, crest
    lie at the top of
    face, front, look
    be oriented in a certain direction, often with respect to another reference point; be opposite to
    be in back of
    be located at the sides of something or somebody
    be in the front of or on top of
    command, dominate, overlook, overtop
    look down on
    line, run along
    be in line with; form a line along
    orient, point
    be oriented
    look across, look out on, look out over, overlook
    be oriented in a certain direction
    run around the rim of
    be on top of
    form the topmost part of
    dwarf, overshadow, shadow
    make appear small by comparison
    be face to face with
    type of:
    occupy a certain position or area; be somewhere
  5. verb
    have a place in relation to something else
    “The fate of Bosnia lies in the hands of the West”
    synonyms: rest
    see moresee less
    type of:
    occupy a certain position or area; be somewhere
  6. verb
    originate (in)
    synonyms: consist, dwell, lie in
    see moresee less
    type of:
    be, exist
    have an existence, be extant
  7. noun
    position or manner in which something is situated
    see moresee less
    type of:
    place, position
    the particular portion of space occupied by something
  8. verb
    tell an untruth; pretend with intent to deceive
    “Don't lie to your parents”
    “She lied when she told me she was only 29”
    see moresee less
    tell romantic or exaggerated lies
    knowingly tell an untruth in a legal court and render oneself guilty of perjury
    tell a relatively insignificant lie
    type of:
    misinform, mislead
    give false or misleading information to
  9. noun
    a statement that deviates from or perverts the truth
    synonyms: prevarication
    see moresee less
    show 5 types...
    hide 5 types...
    fib, story, tale, taradiddle, tarradiddle
    a trivial lie
    (law) a false boast that can harm others; especially a false claim to be married to someone (formerly actionable at law)
    walloper, whopper
    a gross untruth; a blatant lie
    white lie
    an unimportant lie (especially one told to be tactful or polite)
    cock-and-bull story, fairy story, fairy tale, fairytale, song and dance
    an interesting but highly implausible story; often told as an excuse
    type of:
    falsehood, falsity, untruth
    a false statement
Commonly confused words

lay / lie

The verbs lay and lie are total jerks. People often say lay when they mean lie, but it's wrong to lay around. You have to lay something, anything — lay an egg if you want. But you can lie around until the cows come home!

Continue reading...

Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week