Lier or liar? What to use?

The word lier is so uncommon that 9 times out of 10, the word you’re looking for will in fact be liar.

Beth Taylor
Beth Taylor

In school we learn that to turn a verb into a noun we can simply add “er” onto the end. This is notably the case with professions such as singer, teacher and writer. That’s why it’s understandable that people make the mistake of turning the verb “to lie” into lier. This is incorrect if you’re referring to somebody who tells lies, but despite being frequently misused, it is actually a word in its own right.

Liar definition

A liar is a noun that comes from the verb “to lie” meaning to tell a lie, fabricate a story, make false statements, or simply not tell the truth. In short, it is a person who lies.

Lier definition

A lier, on the other hand, is a person who lies down or reclines. This noun comes from the verb “to lie” meaning to be in a horizontal position. Another sense of the word is slightly more specific, as it can refer to somebody who lies in wait or lies in ambush. It’s so rarely used that it doesn’t appear in many dictionaries, but it is included in some, including the Scrabble dictionary!

Knowing when to use lier vs. liar

The word lier is so uncommon that 9 times out of 10, the word you’re looking for will in fact be liar. That said, you may want to know how to use it correctly. You can see how the two words are used differently in the following examples:

He’s a liar, he told us he was sick when he was actually on vacation!
The liers waited for the enemy to approach.
They’re all liars, they should be held accountable.
The predators were liers, lying in wait for their prey.
Liar Liar is a 1997 film starring Jim Carrey as a compulsive liar.
I don’t enjoy active vacations, I’m more of a beach-lier and cocktail-drinker.
EnglishWhich is correct

Beth Taylor

Hello! My name is Beth. I'm from France. I'm a French and English native speaker and I really like writing.

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Milena Lazova

I'm an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in providing original content. I really like writing educational articles which may help others learn some aspects of English.