usage note for layman
Words nearby layman
MORE ABOUT LAYMAN
What does layman mean?
Layman is used in a religious context to refer to a person who is a regular member of a religious congregation and not a member of the clergy—that is, a layman is someone who is not a religious official like a priest.
The term clergy collectively refers to people who have been ordained or otherwise serve as religious leaders or officials, such as priests, rabbis, and nuns. People who are not part of the clergy can be called laypeople or collectively referred to as the laity.
Layman and its plural form laymen specifically refer to men but are often used regardless of gender. However, the truly gender-neutral term layperson is also commonly used.
Layman is perhaps even more commonly used outside of a religious context to refer to a person who is not a member of a particular profession or who is not an expert in or knowledgeable about a particular field. This sense of the word is used in the phrase layman’s terms, which means plain language that the average person can understand, as opposed to technical jargon that can only be understood by experts in the topic or those who are already familiar with it.
When someone asks for an explanation in layman’s terms, they want it to be as simple and straightforward as possible, so that it can be understood by laymen—nonexperts.
Example: She has built a career as a science writer by explaining complex topics in a way that is accessible to the layman.
Where does layman come from?
The first records of the word layman come from the 1100s. The lay in layman is an adjective meaning “belonging to, pertaining to, or performed by the people or laity, as distinguished from the clergy.”
Lay comes from the Middle English lai, meaning “uneducated” or “not belonging to the clergy.” It ultimately comes from the Greek lāikós, meaning “of the people” (as in the common people).
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What are some other forms related to layman?
- laymen (plural)
What are some synonyms for layman?
What are some words that share a root or word element with layman?
What are some words that often get used in discussing layman?
How is layman used in real life?
Layman is perhaps most commonly used in non-religious contexts. It’s especially common in the phrase layman’s terms.
do i make my art painfully obvious and heavyhanded for the layman or do i make it secret, mysterious and complex to impress my peers…..
— plæst[이]k (@plaest2k) September 29, 2020
For the layman, SAML is the backbone of most corporate SSO solutions. One logon for all resources. If an adversary compromises it, they can pretend to be anyone and access anything. https://t.co/wKGoFWYLR2
— The Cyber (@r0wdy_) December 15, 2020
Thanks to #UTMB — a world leader in developing treatments and vaccines for infectious diseases — for explaining in layman's terms how the COVID-19 vaccines work. #UTinServicetoTexas https://t.co/XAMQbPvW2N
— UT System (@utsystem) January 6, 2021
Try using layman!
Which of the following terms can be used as a synonym of layman?
C. member of the laity
D. all of the above
How to use layman in a sentence
To be sure, some problems will require a qualified computer scientist, but citizen-developer toolkits enable laymen to manage simpler solutions on their own.
As it stands, there is a mismatch between the rules scientists write by compared with those that laymen read by.How to Make Sense of Contradictory Science Papers - Issue 100: Outsiders|Haixin Dang & Liam Kofi Bright|June 2, 2021|Nautilus
Even a layman can see the unconnected letters and the strange angles of the note.The John Edwards Verdict Waiting Game|Diane Dimond|May 26, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Art Layman: Could it be that Adelson is really a closet Dem?The Results Are In!|Ryan Prior|February 28, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Reading such a thing might convince the layman that getting hammered is healthy for the heart.Is Alcohol Really Good for You?|Alizah Salario|May 16, 2011|DAILY BEAST
Nuclear jargon has evolved into a code that is indecipherable to the layman.Be Afraid, Very Afraid|Nathaniel Rich|March 15, 2011|DAILY BEAST
I was once present at a dispute between a layman and a clergyman, upon the subject of dreams.
Lawyers always underestimate the legal knowledge of an intelligent layman.
Of the writers who deal with music from the point of view of the cultivated layman, Aristotle is undoubtedly the most instructive.The Modes of Ancient Greek Music|David Binning Monro
They agreed in language too technical for a layman to understand that the cause of Doris' blindness was gradually disappearing.The Hidden Places|Bertrand W. Sinclair
The difference between maximum and minimum flow of most of our streams when stated in figures is startling to the layman.