The phrase "lie low" signifies keeping a low profile or staying out of sight, often to avoid attention or trouble. It's frequently associated with times of conflict, controversy, or after having done something that might attract negative attention or criticism.
"Lie low" means to maintain a low profile, stay quiet, or avoid drawing attention to oneself.
The phrase conveys an intent to keep a low profile, typically to avoid trouble or unnecessary attention. It's often used in situations where one wishes to stay unnoticed or undisturbed.
Let's delve into its core meanings and related expressions:
The idiom "lie low" was used by William Shakespeare in his play "Much Ado About Nothing." However, Shakespeare employed the phrase in its original sense, meaning to be dead or motionless. The expression dated back to Old English and was commonly used to refer to a corpse that had been laid out.
Today, the meaning of "lie low" has evolved distinctively. It is no longer used to signify being dead. Instead, the phrase itself is invoked to suggest keeping an inconspicuous profile. In modern usage, to "lie low" means to hide or avoid detection, often for strategic reasons or until the trouble has passed.
"If he could right himself with quarreling, some of us would lie low."
- Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare, 1599
Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:
The phrase "lie low" often appears in movies, books, and songs, typically related to crime, conflict, or high-stakes scenarios.
Let's look at some examples:
There are several alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "lie low."
Some of these include:
"Lie low" refers to keeping a low profile or avoiding drawing attention to oneself, typically to evade conflict, criticism, or danger.
You can use "lie low" to indicate a strategy of avoiding attention or confrontation. For instance, "After the negative publicity, the actor decided to lie low for a few months."
The phrase "lie low" comes from an old English term meaning to "lie close to the ground," and has since taken on a metaphorical meaning referring to keeping a low profile or staying out of sight.
Both "lie low" and "lay low" are used interchangeably in modern language. Originally, "lie low" was proper, but "lay low" emerged as an alternative phrase with the same meaning. Today, either idiom is correct and common.
Yes, "lie low" can signify a strategic retreat or a period of waiting in anticipation of a more opportune moment.
Yes, the phrase is often used in crime-related contexts, such as in movies, books, or news reports involving criminals avoiding law enforcement.
Yes, the phrase can be used to indicate avoiding work, responsibilities, or any situation where someone would prefer not to attract attention.
"Lie low" is generally considered informal and is more often used in casual conversation or in storytelling, rather than in formal writing.
Not necessarily. While "lie low" can be used in contexts where someone is avoiding a threat or danger, it can also be used in strategic or practical situations where avoiding attention is the best course of action.
Yes, "lie low" can be used to convey a period of rest, relaxation, or disengagement from busy activities. For example, "After a busy week at work, I decided to lie low and spend the weekend at home reading."
The idiom "lie low" implies a strategy of keeping a low profile or avoiding drawing attention, usually to evade conflict or wait for a more opportune moment. It is a versatile phrase used in a variety of contexts, from crime and scandal to strategy and rest.
Here's a quick recap:
Whether it's a strategy for evading conflict or a means of securing some quiet time, the phrase "lie low" provides a colorful way to express these concepts. Remember, there's wisdom in knowing when to step forward and when to lie low.