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[ley-muh n] /ˈleɪ mən/
noun, plural laymen.
a person who is not a member of the clergy; one of the laity.
a person who is not a member of a given profession, as law or medicine.
Origin of layman
Middle English word dating back to 1150-1200; See origin at lay3, man1
Usage note
See -man. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for layman
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Was the gentleman” (he chose that word as he looked at the boys) “layman or clerk?

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • Is she a layman in the sense of that word in the Discipline?

    Samantha Among the Brethren, Part 7. Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)
  • But he is wrong when he denies to her a right to a seat in this body as a layman.

    Samantha Among the Brethren, Part 7. Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)
  • As an acolyte, after all, he rated just barely above a layman; he had no powers whatever.

    Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett
  • He had a friend, a layman, who was a good man, belonged to the Army.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service
  • Of course, it is difficult for a layman to form an opinion when experts differ.

    No Animal Food Rupert H. Wheldon
  • This book is written in terms that are comprehensible to the layman.

British Dictionary definitions for layman


noun (pl) -men
a man who is not a member of the clergy
a person who does not have specialized or professional knowledge of a subject: science for the layman
Gender-neutral form layperson
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 layman

"non-cleric," early 15c., from lay (adj.) + man (n.). Meaning "outsider, non-expert" (especially in regards to law or medicine) is from late 15c. Related: Laymen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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