[ ley-muh n ]
/ ˈleɪ mən /

noun, plural lay·men.

a person who is not a member of the clergy; one of the laity.
a person who is not a member of a given profession, as law or medicine.

Nearby words

  1. layerage,
  2. layered,
  3. layering,
  4. layette,
  5. laying on of hands,
  6. layoff,
  7. layout,
  8. layover,
  9. laypeople,
  10. layperson

Origin of layman

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

Usage note

See -man. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for layman

British Dictionary definitions for layman


/ (ˈleɪmən) /

noun plural -men

a man who is not a member of the clergy
a person who does not have specialized or professional knowledge of a subjectscience for the layman
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



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper