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layman

[ley-muh n]
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noun, plural lay·men.
  1. a person who is not a member of the clergy; one of the laity.
  2. a person who is not a member of a given profession, as law or medicine.
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Origin of layman

Middle English word dating back to 1150–1200; see origin at lay3, man1

Usage note

See -man.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

parishionerdilettanteoutsiderproselytesecularnovicerecruitbelievermemberfollowerneophytelaicnonprofessional

Examples from the Web for layman

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Was the gentleman” (he chose that word as he looked at the boys) “layman or clerk?

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • But he is wrong when he denies to her a right to a seat in this body as a layman.

    Samantha Among the Brethren, Part 7.

    Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)

  • Is she a layman in the sense of that word in the Discipline?

    Samantha Among the Brethren, Part 7.

    Josiah Allen's Wife (Marietta Holley)

  • As an acolyte, after all, he rated just barely above a layman; he had no powers whatever.

    Pagan Passions

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • He had a friend, a layman, who was a good man, belonged to the Army.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service


British Dictionary definitions for layman

layman

noun plural -men
  1. a man who is not a member of the clergy
  2. a person who does not have specialized or professional knowledge of a subjectscience for the layman
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Gender-neutral form: layperson
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 layman

n.

"non-cleric," early 15c., from lay (adj.) + man (n.). Meaning "outsider, non-expert" (especially in regards to law or medicine) is from late 15c. Related: Laymen.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper