lay1 / lā/ • v. (past laid / lād/ ) 1. [tr.] put down, esp. gently or carefully: she laid the baby in his crib. ∎ [tr.] prevent (something) from rising off the ground: there may have been the odd light shower just to lay the dust.2. [tr.] put down and set in position for use: it is advisable to have your carpet laid by a professional fig. the groundwork for change had been laid. ∎ set cutlery, crockery, and mats on (a table) in preparation for a meal: she laid the table for the evening meal. ∎ (often be laid with) cover (a surface) with objects or a substance: the floor was laid with tiles. ∎ make ready (a trap) for someone: she wouldn't put it past him to lay a trap for her. ∎ put the material for (a fire) in place and arrange it. ∎ work out (an idea or suggestion) in detail ready for use or presentation: I'd like more time to lay my plans. ∎ (lay something before) present information or suggestions to be considered and acted upon by (someone): he laid before the House proposals for the establishment of the committee. ∎ (usu. be laid) locate (an episode in a play, novel, etc.) in a certain place: no one who knew the area could be in doubt where the scene was laid. ∎ Naut. follow (a specified course). ∎ [intr.] Naut. go or come: they had to lay aloft. ∎ [tr.] stake (an amount of money) in a wager: she suspected he was pulling her leg, but she wouldn't have laid money on it.3. [tr.] used with an abstract noun so that the phrase formed has the same meaning as the verb related to the noun used, e.g., “lay the blame on” means ‘to blame’: she laid great stress on little courtesies. ∎ (lay something on) require (someone) to endure or deal with a responsibility or difficulty: this is an absurdly heavy guilt trip to lay on anyone.4. [tr.] (of a female bird, insect, reptile, or amphibian) produce (an egg) from inside the body: flamingos lay only one egg [intr.] the hens were laying at the same rate as usual. 5. [tr.] vulgar slang have sexual intercourse with. ∎ [intr.] (get laid) have sexual intercourse.• n. 1. [in sing.] the general appearance of an area, including the direction of streams, hills, and similar features: the lay of the surrounding countryside. ∎ the position or direction in which something lies: roll the carpet against the lay of the nap. ∎ the direction or amount of twist in rope strands.2. vulgar slang an act of sexual intercourse. ∎ [with adj.] a person with a particular ability or availability as a sexual partner.3. the laying of eggs or the period during which they are laid.PHRASES: lay something at someone's doorsee door.lay something bare bring something out of concealment; expose something: the sad tale of failure was laid bare.lay a charge make an accusation: we could lay a charge of gross negligence.lay claim to something assert that one has a right to something: four men laid claim to the leadership. ∎ assert that one possesses a skill or quality: she has never laid claim to medical knowledge.lay down the lawsee law.lay eyes onsee eye.lay a (or the) ghost get rid of a distressing, frightening, or worrying memory or thought: we need to lay the ghost of the past and move ahead.lay hands on1. find and take possession of: they huddled, trying to keep warm under anything they could lay hands on.2. place one's hands on or over, esp. in confirmation, ordination, or spiritual healing.lay (or put) one's hands on find and acquire: I would read every book I could lay my hands on.lay hold of (or on) catch at with one's hands: he was afraid she might vanish if he did not lay hold of her. ∎ gain possession of: the gun was the only one he had been able to lay hold of.lay it on the linesee line1 .the lay (Brit. lie) of the land the way in which the features or characteristics of an area present themselves. ∎ fig. the current situation or state of affairs: she was beginning to see the lay of the land with her in-laws.lay someone low (of an illness) reduce someone to inactivity. ∎ bring to an end the high position or good fortune formerly enjoyed by someone: she reflected on how quickly fate can lay a person low.lay something on the tablesee table.lay something on thick (or with a trowel) inf. grossly exaggerate or overemphasize something.lay someone open to expose someone to the risk of (something): his position could lay him open to accusations of favoritism.lay over break one's journey: Steven and I will lay over in New York, then fly to London.lay siege tosee siege.lay store bysee store.lay someone/something to rest bury a body in a grave. ∎ soothe and dispel fear, anxiety, grief, or a similar unpleasant emotion: suspicion will be laid to rest by fact rather than hearsay.lay something (to) wastesee waste.PHRASAL VERBS: lay about (someone) beat or attack (someone) violently: they weren't against laying about you with sticks and stones. ∎ (lay about one) strike out wildly on all sides: the mare laid about her with her front legs and teeth.lay something aside put something to one side: he laid aside his book. ∎ keep business to deal with later. ∎ reserve money for the future or for a particular cause: he begged them to lay something aside toward the cause. ∎ give up a practice or attitude: the situation gave them a good reason to lay aside their differences.lay something down1. put something that one has been holding on the ground or another surface: she finished her eclair and laid down her fork. ∎ give up the use or enjoyment of something: they renounced violence and laid down their arms. ∎ sacrifice one's life in a noble cause: he laid down his life for his country.2. formulate and enforce or insist on a rule or principle: stringent criteria have been laid down.3. set something in position for use on the ground or a surface: the floors were constructed by laying down precast concrete blocks. ∎ establish something in or on the ground: the ancient grid of streets was laid down by Roman planners. ∎ begin to construct a ship or railroad. ∎ (usu. be laid down) build up a deposit of a substance: these cells lay down new bone tissue.4. store wine in a cellar.5. pay or wager money.6. inf. record a piece of music: he was invited to the studio to lay down some backing vocals.lay something in/up build up a stock of something in case of need.lay into inf. attack violently with words or blows: three youths laid into him.lay off inf. give up: I laid off smoking for seven years. ∎ [usu. in imperative] used to advise someone to stop doing something: lay off—he's not going to tell you.lay someone off discharge a worker, esp. temporarily because of a shortage of work.lay someone out1. prepare someone for burial after death.2. inf. knock someone unconscious: he was lucky that the punch didn't lay him out.lay something out1. spread something out to its full extent, esp. so that it can be seen: the police were insisting that suitcases should be opened and their contents laid out.2. construct or arrange buildings or gardens according to a plan: they proceeded to lay out a new town. ∎ arrange and present material for printing and publication: the brochure is beautifully laid out. ∎ explain something clearly and carefully: we need a paper laying out our priorities.3. inf. spend a sum of money: look at the money I had to lay out for your uniform.lay up Golf hit the ball deliberately to a lesser distance than possible, typically in order to avoid a hazard.lay someone up put someone out of action through illness or injury: he was laid up with his familiar fever.lay something up1. see lay something in above.2. take a ship or other vehicle out of service: our boats were laid up during the winter months.3. assemble layers in the arrangement required for the manufacture of plywood or other laminated material.lay2 • adj. [attrib.] 1. not ordained into or belonging to the clergy: a lay preacher.2. not having professional qualifications or expert knowledge, esp. in law or medicine: lay and professional views of medicine. lay3 • n. a short lyric or narrative poem meant to be sung. ∎ poetic/literary a song: on his lips there died the cheery lay. lay4 • past of lie1 .
lay brother a man who has taken the vows of a religious order but is not ordained or obliged to take part in the full cycle of liturgy and is employed in ancillary or manual work.
lay reader in the Anglican Church, a layperson licensed to preach and to conduct some religious services, but not licensed to celebrate the Eucharist.
lay sister a woman who has taken the vows of a religious order but is not obliged to take part in the full cycle of liturgy and is employed in ancillary or manual work.
Nonprofessional, such as a lay witness who is not a recognized expert in the area that is the subject of the person's testimony. That which relates to persons or entities not clerical or ecclesiastical; a person not in ecclesiastical orders. To present theformal declarations by the parties of their respective claims and defenses in pleadings. A share of the profits of a fishing orwhalingvoyage, allotted to the officers and seamen, in the nature of wages.
Hence layfolk, layman XV.