[ wey-ley, wey-ley ]
/ ˈweɪˌleɪ, weɪˈleɪ /

verb (used with object), way·laid, way·lay·ing.

to intercept or attack from ambush, as in order to rob, seize, or slay.
to await and accost unexpectedly: The actor was waylaid by a swarm of admirers.

Nearby words

  1. wayfaring tree,
  2. waygoing,
  3. waygoing crop,
  4. waylaid,
  5. wayland,
  6. wayleave,
  7. wayleggo,
  8. wayless,
  9. waymark,
  10. waymarked

Origin of waylay

1505–15; way1 + lay1, after Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wegelagen to lie in wait, derivative of wegelage a lying in wait

Related formsway·lay·er, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for waylay

British Dictionary definitions for waylay


/ (weɪˈleɪ) /

verb -lays, -laying or -laid (tr)

to lie in wait for and attack
to await and intercept unexpectedly
Derived Formswaylayer, noun

Word Origin for waylay

C16: from way + lay 1

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 waylay



"to ambush," 1510s, from way + lay (v.), on model of Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wegelagen "besetting of ways, lying in wait with evil or hostile intent along public ways."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper