verb (used with object), laid, lay·ing.
verb (used without object), laid, lay·ing.
- a partner in sexual intercourse.
- an instance of sexual intercourse.
- to abandon; reject.
- to save for use at a later time; store: to lay aside some money every month.
- to reserve for later use; save.
- to hold merchandise pending final payment or request for delivery: to lay away a winter coat.
- to bury: They laid him away in the tomb.
- to put away for future use; store; save: She had managed to lay by money for college from her earnings as a babysitter.
- Nautical. (of a sailing vessel) to come to a standstill; heave to; lay to.
- Midland and Southern U.S. to tend (a crop) for the last time, leaving it to mature without further cultivation.
- to give up; yield: to lay down one's arms.
- to assert firmly; state authoritatively: to lay down rigid rules of conduct.
- to stock; store: to lay down wine.
- Shipbuilding. to draw at full size (the lines of a hull), as on the floor of a mold loft; lay off; loft.
- to dismiss (an employee), especially temporarily because of slack business.
- Informal. to cease or quit: He promised to lay off drinking.
- Slang. to stop annoying or teasing: Lay off me, will you?
- Informal. to stop work: They laid off at four and went home.
- to put aside or take off.
- to mark off; measure; plot.
- Slang. to give or hand over; pass on: They laid off their old sofa on the neighborhood recreation center.
- (of a bookmaker) to transfer all or part of (a wager) to other bookmakers in order to be protected against heavy losses.
- to get rid of or transfer (blame, responsibility, etc.): He tried to lay off the guilt for the crime on his son.
- Nautical. to sail away from.
- Nautical. to remain stationary at a distance from.
- Shipbuilding. lay1(def 47d).
- to cover with; apply: to lay on a coat of wax.
- to strike blows; attack violently: When the mob became unruly, the police began to lay on.
- Nautical. to sail toward.
- Nautical. to row (an oar) with a full stroke.
- Slang. to tell, impart, or give to: Let me lay a little good advice on you.
- Chiefly British Informal. to provide as a gift, bonus, or treat; give; treat: The owners laid on a Christmas dinner for the employees.
- to cut open: to lay open an area of tissue with a scalpel.
- to expose; reveal: Her autobiography lays open shocking facts about her childhood.
- to expose or make vulnerable, as to blame, suspicion, or criticism: He was careful not to lay himself open to charges of partiality.
- to extend at length.
- to spread out in order; arrange; prepare.
- to plan; plot; design.
- to ready (a corpse) for burial.
- Informal. to spend or contribute (money).
- Slang. to knock (someone) down or unconscious.
- Slang. to scold vehemently; reprimand: Whenever I come home late from school, my mom really lays me out.
- to make a layout of.
- Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. to absent oneself from school or work without permission or justification; play hooky.
- to be postponed until action may be taken: The vote will have to be laid over until next week.
- to make a stop, as during a trip: We will have to lay over in Lyons on our way to the Riviera.
- Nautical. to check the motion of (a ship).
- Nautical. to put (a ship) in a dock or other place of safety.
- to attack vigorously.
- to put forth effort; apply oneself.
- to put away for future use; store up.
- to cause to be confined to bed or kept indoors; disable.
- Nautical. to retire (a ship) from active use.
- Nautical. (of a ship) to be retired from active use.
- to construct (a masonry structure): The masons laid the outer walls up in Flemish bond.
- to apply (alternate layers of a material and a binder) to form a bonded material.
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Words nearby lay
Idioms for lay
- to strike or aim blows in every direction.
- to proceed to do; set about.
- Nautical. to sail in the desired direction without tacking.
- to proceed according to a plan.
Origin of lay1
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH laylay lie2 (see usage note at the current entry)downsize fire lay off rightsize terminatelay off layoff
usage note for lay
Lie, with the overall senses “to be in a horizontal position, recline” and “to rest, remain, be situated, etc.,” is intransitive and takes no object. Its forms are irregular; its past tense form is identical with the present tense or infinitive form of lay : Lie down, children. Abandoned cars were lying along the road. The dog lay in the shade and watched the kittens play. The folders have lain on the desk since yesterday.
In all but the most careful, formal speech, forms of lay are commonly heard in senses normally associated with lie. In edited written English such uses of lay are rare and are usually considered nonstandard: Lay down, children. The dog laid in the shade. Abandoned cars were laying along the road. The folders have laid on the desk since yesterday.
Definition for lay (2 of 7)
Definition for lay (3 of 7)
Origin of lay3
Definition for lay (4 of 7)
Origin of lay4
Definition for lay (5 of 7)
Origin of lay5
Definition for lay (6 of 7)
verb (used without object), lied, ly·ing.
verb (used with object), lied, ly·ing.
Origin of lie1
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH lielie lye
synonym study for lie
Definition for lay (7 of 7)
verb (used without object), lay, lain, ly·ing.
- to pause for rest; stop activities, work, etc., temporarily.
- to lie unused: Ever since the last member of the family died, the old house has lain by.
- to be confined to bed in childbirth.
- Chiefly British. to stay in bed longer than usual, especially in the morning.
- to lie at rest; stay in bed.
- (of a ship) to dock or remain in dock.
- to be the duty or function of: The decision in this matter lies with him.
- Archaic. to have sexual intercourse with.
Origin of lie2
usage note for lie
Example sentences from the Web for lay
One police officer was coolly dispatched as he lay wounded on the sidewalk.
Lay the butterflied pork loin on the cutting board with the fat cap facing down.Make Carla Hall’s Roasted Pork Loin With Cranberries|Carla Hall|December 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
In their opinion, this would allow conservatives to lay a marker down on immigration while avoiding a shutdown for the time being.Bachmann and Pelosi vs. Boehner and Obama Over Spending Bill|Ben Jacobs|December 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Dehydrated and feeling weary, Marino lay down beside another migrant under a tree and fell asleep.
And since she was so tired, she wanted to lay down and sleep.In New Brothers Grimm 'Snow White', The Prince Doesn't Save Her|The Brothers Grimm|November 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Safest for him, after all, was to lay fast hold of the particularly unimportant person he was, both there and anywhere else.Lord Ormont and his Aminta, Complete|George Meredith
I learned later that he had implored the Superior on his knees not to lay this dreadful command upon him, but all in vain.The Monk and The Hangman's Daughter|Adolphe Danziger De Castro and Ambrose Bierce
At last he became worn out, and lay quite still, and thus froze fast in the ice.Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol. 2|Charles Dudley Warner
Still Maria lay upon my lap, and still I resisted every attempt that was made to remove her.Beaux and Belles of England|Mary Robinson
Lay on different parts of the skin a small, square piece of paper with a small central hole in it.A Practical Physiology|Albert F. Blaisdell
British Dictionary definitions for lay (1 of 7)
verb lays, laying or laid (leɪd) (mainly tr)
- nautical to sail on a planned course without tacking
- to plan an action
- an act of sexual intercourse
- a sexual partner
Word Origin for lay
usage for lay
British Dictionary definitions for lay (2 of 7)
Word Origin for lay
British Dictionary definitions for lay (3 of 7)
Word Origin for lay
British Dictionary definitions for lay (4 of 7)
British Dictionary definitions for lay (5 of 7)
British Dictionary definitions for lay (6 of 7)
verb lies, lying or lied
- to disprove
- to accuse of lying
Other words from lieRelated adjective: mendacious
Word Origin for lie
British Dictionary definitions for lay (7 of 7)
verb lies, lying, lay (leɪ) or lain (leɪn) (intr)
- to be or rest (with)the ultimate decision lies with you
- archaic to have sexual intercourse (with)
- to keep or be concealed or quiet
- to wait for a favourable opportunity
- the position of the ball after a shota bad lie
- the angle made by the shaft of the club before the upswing
- the topography of the land
- the way in which a situation is developing or people are behaving
Word Origin for lie
Medical definitions for lay
Idioms and Phrases with lay (1 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with lay
- lay about one
- lay a finger on
- lay an egg
- lay aside
- lay at rest
- lay at someone's door
- lay a wager
- lay away
- lay by
- lay claim to
- lay down
- lay down the law
- lay eyes on
- lay for
- lay hands on
- lay hold of
- lay in
- lay into
- lay it on the line
- lay it on thick
- lay low
- lay odds
- lay off
- lay of the land, the
- lay on
- lay one's cards on the table
- lay oneself out
- lay on the line
- lay open
- lay out
- lay over
- lay someone low
- lay to rest
- lay up
- lay waste
- let it lay
Also see underlaid uplieput.
Idioms and Phrases with lay (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with lie
- lie down
- lie in
- lie in state
- lie in wait
- lie low
- lie through one's teeth
- lie with
- barefaced lie
- give the lie to
- (lie) in state
- lay of the land (how the land lies)
- let sleeping dogs lie
- make one's bed and lie in it
- take lying down
- white lie