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See more synonyms for laity on Thesaurus.com
  1. the body of religious worshipers, as distinguished from the clergy.
  2. the people outside of a particular profession, as distinguished from those belonging to it: the medical ignorance of the laity.
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Origin of laity

First recorded in 1535–45; lay3 + -ity
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for laity


  1. laymen, as distinguished from clergymen
  2. all people not of a specific occupation
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Word Origin

C16: from lay ³
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

Word Origin and History for laity


"body of people not in religious orders," early 15c., from Anglo-French laite, from lay (adj.) + -ity.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper