Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Pet Peeve

"Belie" means "give the lie to", NOT reveal. So, do not use "belie" when you want to mean reveal or you will wind up saying the exact opposite of what you mean. For instance, if you wish to say that a politician's bombast reveals his ignorance, then say just that. Do not say, "The politician's bombast belies his ignorance." That means that his bombast actually vitiates or contradicts his reputation for ignorance and thereby gives "bombast" a positive meaning that it really does not have. The misuse of "belie" does nothing but belie your pretension to be a precise practitioner of the English Language. Got that? Good.

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