lay figure

  1. a jointed model of the human body, usually of wood, from which artists work in the absence of a living model.

  2. a similar figure used in shops to display costumes.

  1. a person of no importance, individuality, distinction, etc.; nonentity.

Origin of lay figure

1785–95; lay, extracted from obsolete layman<Dutch leeman, variant of ledenman, equivalent to leden- (combining form of lid limb, cognate with Old English, Middle English lith) + manman)

Words Nearby lay figure Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use lay figure in a sentence

  • The moment a girl marries in New England she is apt to become a drudge, or a lay figure on which to exhibit the latest fashions.

  • It really was an artistic pleasure to deal with such beautiful hair, and such a lovely lay figure as Esther's.

    Magnum Bonum | Charlotte M. Yonge
  • They are married, absolutely married; my par and that painted lay figure you introduced to him, that Mrs. Harrington.

    A Noble Woman | Ann S. Stephens
  • The mere mention of the rival's name sufficed to reduce Lilly to the position of nothing but a lay figure.

    The Song of Songs | Hermann Sudermann
  • Olive, humbled and disconsolate, prepared for her voluntary duty as Vanbrugh's lay-figure.

    Olive | Dinah Maria Craik, (AKA Dinah Maria Mulock)

British Dictionary definitions for lay figure

lay figure

  1. an artist's jointed dummy, used in place of a live model, esp for studying effects of drapery

  2. a person considered to be subservient or unimportant

Origin of lay figure

C18: from obsolete layman, from Dutch leeman, literally: joint-man

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