The Meaning of In Lieu: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of in lieu? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the term in lieu, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the term in lieu mean?

According to Merriam-Webster Unabridged English Dictionary and Cambridge Dictionary of the English Language,  the term in lieu means in place. This is often used in the term in lieu of. For example, at a funeral, someone might ask for donations to charity in lieu of flowers. In lieu of a sceptre, a king might wear a barbed iron crown. A lender or borrower might offer refinancing in lieu of foreclosure on a home and giving up the deed. An employee’s contract might include in lieu days or an in lieu policy in the workplace along with overtime or additional hours. A guardian might be implemented on behalf of the minor child in lieu of a default unfit parent. A landlord might offer a free week in lieu of rent as an incentive to get someone to move in. Someone might opt for monthly payments in lieu of cash all at once if they win the lottery. The term in lieu of is also used in many legal terms. 

There are many different languages that also contain terms meaning in lieu. You may notice that a lot of these terms have a similar look and sound to the phrase in lieu of. These are called cognates, which are words and phrases that look and sound similarly between languages, while also retaining the same meaning. This list of translations for the term in lieu is provided by Word Sense, but you also might be able to find them in different language’s dictionaries, like a Spanish dictionary or a German dictionary.

  •  Esperanto: anstataŭ‎
  •  Russian: вме́сто‎
  •  Greek: αντί‎
  •  Hebrew: במקום‎ (bimkóm)
  •  Telugu: బదులుగా‎ (badulugaa), మారుగా‎ (maarugaa)
  •  Spanish: en lugar de‎, en vez de‎
  •  Romanian: loc‎
  •  Czech: místo‎
  •  Hungarian: helyett‎
  •  German: anstelle‎, anstatt‎, statt‎
  •  Vietnamese: thay vì‎
  •  Icelandic: í stað‎
  •  French: au lieu de‎, à la place de‎
  •  Portuguese: ao invés de‎
  •  Italian: al posto di‎
  •  Venetian: invése‎, invéze‎, inveẑe‎
  •  Finnish: sijasta‎, asemesta‎, asemasta‎
  •  Swedish: i stället‎
  •  Catalan: en comptes de‎, en lloc de‎

How can the phrase in lieu be used in a sentence?

The term in lieu is often used in the phrase in lieu of. In this example, Navid and Greg are dictionary collectors. They are talking about trading dictionaries.

Greg: Will you take a 12th edition for your unabridged 8th edition?

Navid: No, but in lieu of my unabridged 2nd edition, I can give you my fifth edition or my unabridged 7th edition. 

Greg: Do you have the matching bookmarks and the flashcards for it?

Navid: Sure do.

Greg: Sold.

Next, Harris is a student at Princeton University. He complains to the dean about his professor’s absence.

Harris: What is the function of a teacher then, if we’re meant to teach ourselves?

Dean: You’re not teaching yourselves. He provided a syllabus.

Harris: Yeah, great. We get a syllabus and a textbook in lieu of guidance.

What is the origin of the phrase in lieu?

According to Etymonline, the word lieu (pronunciation: luː) has been used since the late 13th century. This word comes from the Middle English liue, Old French lieu and the Old French liu, meaning place, position, or rank. These French words were used in the 10th century, and also bore related words like lieutenant and milieu. These come from the Latin locum, the nominative of the Latin word locus meaning “a place.” From this, we also get the words location and locale.

The word locus has been used since the year 1715 to mean place, spot or locality. This is the singular of the term loci. This is related to the words allocation, collocate, in loco parentis, locable, locate, locale and location, amongst others. These all stem directly from the Latin locus, meaning a spot or place. The Latin locus comes from the Old Latin stlocus, which is a term of uncertain origin. This word was used by a plethora of Latin writers for Greek topos, and has been used mathematically since 1750.

What are synonyms for the term in lieu?

There are many different words that one can use in place of the term in lieu. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are looking to expand your vocabulary or if you want to avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the term in lieu is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  preferably
  •  on behalf of
  •  willingly
  •  in place of
  •  as a substitute
  •  instead
  •  much sooner
  •  sooner
  •  by preference
  •  alternatively
  •  alternately
  •  rather
  •  on second thought
  •  in preference
  •  first
  •  just as soon
  •  as a matter of choice
  •  more readily
  •  rather than
  •  alternative
  •  more willingly
  •  by choice

There are also many different words and phrases that mean the opposite of the term in lieu. These are called antonyms, or “opposite words.” Antonyms are also a quick and easy way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the term in lieu is provided by Thesaurus as well. 

  •  synchronically
  •  beside
  •  alongside
  •  hand in glove
  •  mutually
  •  hand in hand
  •  along
  •  conjointly
  •  unanimously
  •  simultaneously
  •  contemporaneously
  •  commonly
  •  including
  •  in one breath
  •  coincidentally
  •  concertedly
  •  in cooperation
  •  by
  •  concomitantly
  •  on the beat
  •  for
  •  concurrently
  •  combined
  •  near
  •  jointly
  •  collectively
  •  with the beat
  •  side by side
  •  in a body
  •  with one accord
  •  together
  •  plus
  •  all together
  •  en masse
  •  with one voice
  •  among
  •  amidst
  •  in sync
  •  in concert
  •  unitedly
  •  closely
  •  at one fell swoop
  •  upon
  •  as one
  •  in unison

Overall, the phrase in lieu means in place of. A QR code might be given in lieu of a menu at a contactless restaurant, for example. This word is French and Latin in origin. Read more articles from The Word Counter to gain access to the latest news and exclusive updates on all of your favorite phrases!