[ ley-pee-puhl ]
/ ˈleɪˌpi pəl /
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See synonyms for: laypeople / layperson on Thesaurus.com

plural noun
laymen and laywomen collectively.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does laypeople mean?

Laypeople is used in a religious context to refer to people who are regular members of a religious congregation and not members of the clergy—that is, laypeople are people who are not religious officials like priests.

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. The singular form of laypeople is layperson. In a religious context, laypeople can be collectively referred to as the laity.

The word layman specifically refers to a man, but it is often used regardless of gender. However, layperson is truly gender-neutral.

Laypeople is perhaps even more commonly used outside of a religious context to refer to people who are not members of a particular profession or who are not experts in or knowledgeable about a particular field. The related phrases layman’s terms and layperson’s terms refer to 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 layperson’s terms, they want it to be as simple and straightforward as possible, so that it can be understood by laypeople—nonexperts.

Example: She has built a career as a science writer by explaining complex topics in a way that is accessible to laypeople.

Where does laypeople come from?

The first records of the word laypeople come from the 1970s. The lay in laypeople 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 laypeople?

What are some synonyms for laypeople?

  • the laity
  • average people
  • nonexperts

What are some words that share a root or word element with laypeople

What are some words that often get used in discussing laypeople?

How is laypeople used in real life?

Laypeople is perhaps most commonly used in non-religious contexts. It’s especially used in the discussion of how information should be presented to nonexperts.


Try using laypeople!

Which of the following terms can be used as a synonym of laypeople?

A. average people
B. nonexperts
C. the laity
D. all of the above

How to use laypeople in a sentence