“Her sweet appearance belied her true nature.”

Based on what’s shown above, what is the best definition of belie?

Check your answer!

Choice A - To subtly or indirectly reveal one’s true nature
Choice B - To create a false impression that contradicts reality
Choice C - To purify something or make it more good
Choice D - To corrupt something; to make it more evil or less pure


Belie (verb) – to create a false impression of or to give an appearance that contradicts reality; or, to give evidence that something is false

GRE pro tips:

The prefix “be” usually does not change the meaning of a word but only makes the word richer (for instance, to be bemused is to be very much musing or pondering). It makes sense then that, in Old English, the word belie meant to deceive by lying. However, the meaning of the word has softened with time, and today to belie can mean a few distinct things. First, it can mean to create a false impression of or to misrepresent reality; for instance, someone’s youthful looks could belie their real age, or someone’s gentle voice could belie their fierce nature. However, belie can also mean to provide evidence that contradicts something; for instance, failing a lie detector test would belie someone’s innocence, or a scathing Yelp review could belie the positive things you’ve heard about a new restaurant.

Example sentences:

“His child-like face and youthful disposition belie his real age.”

“Unfortunately for Margaret, the results of her lie detector test belied her innocence.”