Liar vs. Lyre

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Liar and lyre are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way when spoken aloud but are spelled differently and mean different things, which makes them homophones. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words liar and lyre, the word origin of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

A liar is someone who does not tell the truth, someone who spreads falsehoods or whose word can not be trusted. A liar tells lies. The word liar is derived from the Old English word leogere, which means liar or hypocrite. The plural form of liar is liars.

A lyre is an ancient, stringed instrument constructed in the shape of a U and strummed or plucked with the fingers. Strumming of a lyre often accompanied the recitation of poetry in ancient Greece. It is believed by many that the lyre originated in Egypt. The word lyre is derived from the Greek word lyra. The plural form of lyre is lyres.


The song’s sharp topical message — the Dylan-esque refrain of “your prophet is a banker and a liar” — was also appealing to Driftwood Soldier, who filmed the accompanying video around Wall Street in New York. (Billboard Magazine)

Anyone can tell a tall tale, and the library suggests bringing your best to “compete for marvelous prizes, bragging rights and the title of ‘Kentucky’s Best Liar.’ ” (The State Journal)

People often climb on the statue, and Mark Kutney, a conservator with the university, guessed that decades of people grabbing the lyre to pull themselves up, along with rain, corroded the metal joining the lyre to the rest of the statue. (The Daily Progress)

Aristotle imagined a future in which “the shuttle would weave and the plectrum touch the lyre without a hand to guide them.” (Bloomberg Businessweek)

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