Lier or Liar – Meaning & Spelling

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Is it liar or lier to describe someone who is misleading or untruthful? These two words are often confused and misused, so I thought I’d take some time to explain what each one means, how to use them correctly, and their origins.

The Difference in Lier or Liar Meanings

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First, take a look at the verb lie, which is where both of these terms are derived from. Lie has two meanings: to cheat or be untruthful and to lay horizontally.

It’s easy to see how liar and lier can be confused, as their spelling is so similar, but the meanings are entirely different. So, how do you know which one to use?

The easiest way is to remember the context in which you’re using the word. If you’re talking about someone who isn’t ethical and tells untruths, use “liar.” If you’re talking about someone who is lying down in wait, use “lier.”

Liar Meaning

A “liar” is someone who tells lies or false information, intentionally or unintentionally. It comes from the verb lying.

“Liar” has been used in the English language for many centuries, dating back to the 14th century. It comes from the old English word “leogere,” meaning someone who lies or is a hypocrite.

Lier Meaning

“Lier” is not a very common word you see used these days. But it roughly translates to someone who is laying in wait, as in to ambush or something. In the wild west, a bandit hiding on a hill, waiting for people to pass, would be called a lier. He lies in wait for people to rob.

“Lier” is a relatively new word in the English language, first appearing in the 19th century. It also comes from the French word “lier,” which means “to bind or tie.” But I’ve never seen it used to describe binding or tying in the English language.

What Is Another Word for Lier?

  • Lounger
  • Sitter

What Is the Plural of Liar?

The plural of the word liar is liars. “The people in this room are liars.”

Is Lier a Word?

It is, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. But it’s definitely an uncommon word and awkward to use if you ask me. Most spell checkers don’t see it as a correct spelling.

How Do You Spell Liar?

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If you’re talking about a deceitful person, it’s l-i-a-r. But if you’re referring to someone lying or lying down on a surface, it’s l-i-e-r.

Liar and Lier Pronunciation

They’re pronounced the same, despite the different spellings. You say them as ly-er.

Using Lier in a Sentence

  • He sleeps in bed all day, that lier.
  • The lier in wait will always catch its prey.

A lier in bed may be allowed to profess a disinterested indifference for his health or longevity. [“Getting Up on Cold Mornings,” Leigh Hunt (c. 1830)]

Using Liar in a Sentence

  • She was caught in a lie and is now known as a liar.
  • My ex-boyfriend was infamous for being a serial liar.
  • Most politicians’ statements are full of lies, making them all liars, in my opinion.
  • The company I work at was accused of fraudulent activities by a former employee who claimed they were liars.
  • The little boy couldn’t keep his story straight and was called a liar by his classmates.

Final Words

So, both liar and lier are derived from the word lie. When trying to remember the difference, use liar with an A to talk about someone who’s totally untruthful. And when you’re in a horizontal position, you’re a lier.

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