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[wey-ley, wey-ley] /ˈweɪˌleɪ, weɪˈleɪ/
verb (used with object), waylaid, waylaying.
to intercept or attack from ambush, as in order to rob, seize, or slay.
to await and accost unexpectedly:
The actor was waylaid by a swarm of admirers.
Origin of waylay
1505-15; way1 + lay1, after Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wegelagen to lie in wait, derivative of wegelage a lying in wait
Related forms
waylayer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for waylay
Historical Examples
  • I warn you that I shall lay all manner of traps, waylay your messengers, bribe them.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • The little house was quiet and dark with no one to waylay them.

    A Little Girl in Old Detroit

    Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • But Rose did not dare, and then there was Martin ready to waylay her.

    A Little Girl in Old Detroit

    Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • If you can intercept her before she gets there, or waylay her when she leaves, why there you are.

    The Slave of Silence Fred M. White
  • The huntsmen, hearing of it, stole out privately to waylay him in a snare.

    Fairy Book Sophie May
  • "I will," cried Paul, hurrying across the corridor to waylay his chum.

    Paul and the Printing Press Sara Ware Bassett
  • The question is—Have they passed the place, where it was intended to waylay them?

    The Death Shot Mayne Reid
  • I am ordered to send this berserk with a troop of nineteen men to waylay thee.

    Erling the Bold R.M. Ballantyne
  • Dick hurried out by the front to waylay Will, but encountered Uncle Abram.

    Menhardoc George Manville Fenn
  • They began to waylay and butcher white men and women and children.

British Dictionary definitions for waylay


verb (transitive) -lays, -laying, -laid
to lie in wait for and attack
to await and intercept unexpectedly
Derived Forms
waylayer, noun
Word Origin
C16: from way + lay1
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 waylay

"to ambush," 1510s, from way + lay (v.), on model of Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wegelagen "besetting of ways, lying in wait with evil or hostile intent along public ways."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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