1 /laI/ verb present participle lyingpast tense lay, past participle lain /leIn/
a) (intransitive always + adv/prep) to be in a position in which your body is flat on the floor, on a bed etc
(+ on/in/there etc): He was lying on the bed smoking a cigarette. | Don't lie in the sun for too long. | lie still/awake/dead etc: She would lie awake at nights worrying.
b) also lie down (intransitive always + adv/prep) to put yourself in a position in which your body is flat on the floor or on a bed
(+ on/in/there etc): Lie on the floor and stretch your legs upwards.
c) (intransitive always + adv/prep) to be in a flat position on a surface
(+ on/in/there etc): The papers were lying neatly on his desk, waiting to be signed.
2 EXIST (intransitive always + adv/prep) if an idea or a quality lies in a particular action, person etc, it exists or is expressed in that action, person, etc
(+ in/with/outside etc): The answer must lie in finding alternative sources of power. | the future lies in (=something will be very important in the future): The future lies in multimedia.
3 BE IN A PLACE (intransitive always + adv/prep) if a town, village, etc lies in a particular place, it is in that place
(+ in/on/below): The town lies in a small wooded valley.
4 lie ahead/lie before you/lie in store if something lies ahead of you etc, it is going to happen to you in the future: How will we cope with the difficulties that lie ahead? | I was wondering what lay in store for us.
5 lie open/empty/undisturbed etc to be open etc: The book lay open on the table. | The town now lay in ruins.
6 lie in wait (for)
a) to remain hidden in a place and wait for someone so that you can attack them
(+ for): a giant crocodile lying in wait for its prey
b) if something unpleasant lies in wait for you, it is going to happen to you
7 lie low to remain hidden because someone is trying to find you or catch you: We'll have to lie low until tonight.
8 lie at the heart of formal to be the most important part of something: the issue that lies at the heart of the present conflict
9 lie heavy on formal if something lies heavy on you, it makes you feel unhappy: The feelings of guilt lay heavy on him.
10 lie second/third/fourth etc BrE to be in second, third etc position in a competition: Liverpool are lying third in the football championship.
11 DEAD PERSON (intransitive always + adv/prep) if someone lies in a particular place, they are buried there: here lies ... (=written on a gravestone): Here lies Percival Smythe.
12 lie in state if an important person who has died lies in state, their body is put in a public place so that people can go and show their respect for them
13 STAY (intransitive always + adv/prep) old use to spend the night somewhere: He was to lie that night at a neighbour's.
-see also: let sleeping dogs lie sleep 1 (6) lie about/around phrasal verb
1 (I, T) if something is lying around, it has been left somewhere untidily, rather than being in its proper place: If you leave your shoes lying around like that, you'll trip over them. | lie around/about sth: Papers and books lay around the room in complete chaos.
2 (I) if you lie around, you spend time lying down and not doing anything: I felt so lazy just lying around on the beach all day.
lie behind sth phrasal verb (T) if something lies behind an action, it is the real reason for the action even though it may be hidden: I knew that something else lay behind his sudden interest in football. lie down phrasal verb
1 (I) to put yourself in a position in which your body is flat on the floor or on a bed: You must lie down and rest.
2 take sth lying down informal to accept bad treatment without complaining: I'm not going to take this lying down! You'll be hearing from my lawyer.
lie in phrasal verb BrE (I) to remain in bed in the morning for longer than usual: I can't wait to be able to lie in this weekend! lie with sb phrasal verb (T)
1 if a power, duty etc lies with someone, they have that power etc: The responsibility for this problem lies firmly within the government.
2 old use to have sex with someone
2 verb past tense liedpast participle lying
1 (I) to deliberately tell someone something that is not true: I could tell from her face that she was lying. | lie to sb: I would never lie to you. | lie through your teeth (=say something that is completely untrue)
2 (I) if a picture, account etc lies, it does not show the true facts or the true situation: Statistics can often lie. | The camera never lies.
3 noun
1 (C) something that you say or write that you know is untrue: There's no truth in her story. It's all lies! | tell a lie: I always know when he's telling lies. | tell sb a lie: Of course it's true. I wouldn't tell you a lie. | pack of lies (=a story or set of statements that is completely untrue): Their whole account of the event was a pack of lies. | barefaced lie (=a shocking lie) | white lie (=a lie that is not serious, or one that is told to avoid upsetting someone)
2 give the lie to formal to show that something is untrue: This report gives the lie to the company's claim that there has been no pollution.
3 the lie of the land/ the way the land lies the way that a situation is developing at a particular time: I want to see how the land lies before I decide whether or not to take the job.
4 (I) tell a lie BrE spoken used when you realize that something you have just said is not correct: It was -25, no, tell a lie, -35.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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  • Lie — Lie, v. i. [imp. {Lay} (l[=a]); p. p. {Lain} (l[=a]n), ({Lien} (l[imac] [e^]n), Obs.); p. pr. & vb. n. {Lying}.] [OE. lien, liggen, AS. licgan; akin to D. liggen, OHG. ligen, licken, G. liegen, Icel. liggja, Sw. ligga, Dan. ligge, Goth. ligan,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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