[ ley-bahy ]

  1. British. (on a road or railroad) a place beside the main road or track where vehicles may wait.

  2. Nautical. a mooring place in a narrow river or canal, formed to one side so as to leave the channel free.

Origin of lay-by

First recorded in 1795–1805; noun use of verb phrase lay by Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use lay-by in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lay-by


  1. British a place for drivers to stop at the side of a main road

  2. nautical an anchorage in a narrow waterway, away from the channel

  1. a small railway siding where rolling stock may be stored or parked

  2. Australian, NZ and Southern African a system of payment whereby a buyer pays a deposit on an article, which is reserved for him until he has paid the full price

verblay by (adverb)
  1. (tr) to set aside or save for future needs

  2. Also: lay to to cause (a sailing vessel) to stop in open water or (of a sailing vessel) to stop

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with lay-by


see lay aside, def. 2.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.