View synonyms for lay-up


or lay·up

[ ley-uhp ]


  1. Basketball. a shot with one hand from a point close to the basket, in which a player shoots the ball toward the basket, often off the backboard.
  2. the operation of assembling veneers for pressing into plywood.
  3. the operation of applying alternate layers of material and a binder to form a bonded material.

lay up


  1. to store or reserve for future use
  2. informal.
    usually passive to incapacitate or confine through illness

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of lay-up1

First recorded in 1940–45; noun use of verb phrase lay up

Discover More

Idioms and Phrases

see laid up ; lay in .

Discover More

Example Sentences

The result: Birds lay up to three or four times as many eggs as in nature.

He shall come into Aiath, he shall pass into Magron: at Machmas he shall lay up his carriages.

Some money I do and can lay up, but not much, being worth now above L700, besides goods of all sorts.

If I can persuade him to store his autos and lay up his yacht and sell off his polo ponies—I'll try it, anyhow.

If no one was to lay up money, there would be no one to pay for work, yet toil was considered to be a duty.

He does it just as men lay away money for ‘a rainy day,’ as we say, and as squirrels lay up a store of nuts for the cold weather.


Discover More

More About Lay-up

What is a lay-up?

A lay-up is a throw, or shot, in basketball in which the player uses one hand to throw the basketball into the basketball hoop, often jumping to increase the force of the throw and using the backboard to guide the ball through the hoop.

Lay-ups are the most basic shot in basketball and are normally the first thing new players learn. It is considered relatively easy because the player’s closeness to the hoop and the lack of velocity needed makes it easier to bounce the ball off the backboard with control.

Less commonly, a lay-up is the process of applying sheets of veneer to plywood for construction. Veneer not only strengthens the plywood but also makes it visually pleasing with a constant grain. A lay-up is a specific instance of a sheet of veneer being laid onto a sheet of plywood and pressed down or glued.

Example: We’ll start our practice by doing lay-ups from the corner.

Where does lay-up come from?

The first records of the term lay-up come from the 1940s. It comes from the verb phrase lay up, meaning “to put something above or rest it vertically.” When someone performs a lay-up, they are literally “putting up” the ball vertically to drop it into the hoop.

Lay-ups can be some of the flashiest shots in basketball, because the ease in scoring allows players to add flourishes or style to their move. Because defenders have to be close to the player shooting a lay-up to have any chance of blocking it, the player also has an easier time evading defenders, making the lay-up a fan favorite of some basketball fans.

Did you know … ?

What are some words that share a root or word element with lay-up

What are some words that often get used in discussing lay-up?

How is lay-up used in real life?

Lay-up is almost always used in reference to basketball.


Try using lay-up!

Is lay-up used correctly in the following sentence?

Even just one missed lay-up could have cost the team the game this time around.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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