the lie of the land

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the lie of the land

1. Literally, the physical topography of a particular location or area. Primarily heard in UK. See if there's a path to higher ground so we can see the lie of the land.
2. By extension, the particular state, arrangement, or condition of something; the way a situation exists or has developed. Primarily heard in UK. Given the turbulent nature of this market, I think it would be prudent to understand the lie of the land before we agree to invest. I'm thinking about studying business, but I want to visit a few colleges first and check out the lie of the land.
See also: land, lie, of
References in classic literature ?
121} I will now, however, point out to you the lie of the land, and you will then perhaps believe me.
Well, somethin' in the lie of the land took my notice.
He seemed to know these hills as well as he knew the hill dialects, and gave the lama the lie of the land towards Ladakh and Tibet.
No, Bunny, I never thought of it till I saw that upper part empty about a month ago, and bought a few things in the shop to get the lie of the land.
He would no doubt admit he has plenty still to learn, but the sport is now hearing how he sees the lie of the land and what he, as BHA chief executive, the organisation he runs and racing can do to change it.
Below, <Bhow he depicted the lie of the land for military use how he depicted the lie of the land for military use
It's seeing the lie of the land - but I'm looking to get back in as quickly as possible.
But I will certainly be speaking to Mark and see what the lie of the land is.
Having spent two years living on site prior to constructing this modest 80sqm extension, many hours were invested in coming to terms with the lie of the land, and while sharing the place with his writer wife, Taylor was also keen to develop a strong narrative for the site; a never-ending story, that begins as you leave your car to walk the wooded path, and that continues via gate, enclosure and terrace, to infinity beyond.
Brian also made very good use of the lie of the land and chose garden furniture that was attractive and useful but didn't take attention away from the plants.
Due to the steep lie of the land we cannot operate a traditional cut-and-graze system so silage is extremely important to us,' said Mr Jones.
As anyone who works with kids will tell you, it doesn't take long for some kids to figure out the lie of the land and begin working the system.
In Germany, where this system is widely used, they often switch the new road one side or the other of the original to the best environmental advantage of the lie of the land with regular intersections to connect the old and new roads, which provides a most effective new route with the minimum of loss of trees.
The lie of the land is that there were no substantial changes.