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Origin of layabout

1930–35; noun use of verb phrase lay about, nonstandard variant of lie about Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for layabout


  1. a lazy person; loafer
verb lay about
  1. (preposition, usually intr or reflexive) old-fashioned to hit out with violent and repeated blows in all directions
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 layabout

"habitual loafer," 1932, from lay (v.) + about. One who "lays about" the house, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper