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90s Slang You Should Know


[bih-ley] /bɪˈleɪ/
verb (used with object), belayed, belaying.
Nautical. to fasten (a rope) by winding around a pin or short rod inserted in a holder so that both ends of the rod are clear.
Mountain Climbing.
  1. to secure (a person) by attaching to one end of a rope.
  2. to secure (a rope) by attaching to a person or to an object offering stable support.
  1. to cease (an action); stop.
  2. to ignore (an announcement, order, etc.):
    Belay that, the meeting will be at 0900 instead of 0800.
verb (used without object), belayed, belaying.
to belay a rope:
Belay on that cleat over there.
Mountain Climbing. a rock, bush, or other object sturdy enough for a running rope to be passed around it to secure a hold.
Origin of belay
before 900; Middle English beleggen, Old English belecgan. See be-, lay1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for belayed
Historical Examples
  • If led on board, it should be stopped down to the heel of the shank with a rotten stop and belayed with plenty of slack.

    On Yachts and Yacht Handling Thomas Fleming Day
  • Murphy and Hennesey nippered the falls at the pinrail, and belayed when they slacked.

    The Grain Ship Morgan Robertson
  • Cleet, fixed to the "rail," either with screws or nails, to which the lines are belayed.

  • Then I belayed the fall securely to one of a pair of cleats, and approached him.

    The Uttermost Farthing R. Austin Freeman
  • Then, quick as thought, I belayed the windlass and lowered a gaff.

  • The fore and afters were the ropes secured to the side corners, and they, on being hauled taut and belayed, held it out square.

    Pincher Martin, O.D. H. Taprell Dorling
  • The two fishermen jumped into the dory and Donald allowed the boat to drift astern and belayed the painter to the taffrail pin.

    The Viking Blood Frederick William Wallace
  • As the last rope was belayed the skipper stepped to the skylight, peered down through it, and then turned and struck eight bells.

    Turned Adrift Harry Collingwood
  • Davies had belayed the painter, and now had to explain the origin of the mizzen.

    The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
  • As soon as the halliards were belayed and coiled down, the capstan-bars were manned again, and the anchor weighed.

    In Greek Waters G. A. Henty
British Dictionary definitions for belayed


verb -lays, -laying, -layed
(nautical) to make fast (a line) by securing to a pin, cleat, or bitt
(usually imperative) (nautical) to stop; cease
(mountaineering) (ˈbiːˌleɪ). to secure (a climber) to a mountain by tying the rope off round a rock spike, piton, nut, etc
(mountaineering) (ˈbiːˌleɪ). the attachment (of a climber) to a mountain by tying the rope off round a rock spike, piton, nut, etc, to safeguard the party in the event of a fall See also running belay
Word Origin
Old English belecgan; related to Old High German bileggen, Dutch beleggen
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for belayed



from Old English bilecgan, which, among other senses, meant "to lay a thing about" (with other objects), from be- + lecgan "to lay" (see lay (v.)). The only surviving sense is the nautical one of "coil a running rope round a cleat or pin to secure it" (also transferred to mountain-climbing), first attested 1540s; but this is possibly a cognate word, from Dutch beleggen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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