[wey-ley, wey-ley]
See more synonyms for waylay on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), way·laid, way·lay·ing.
  1. to intercept or attack from ambush, as in order to rob, seize, or slay.
  2. to await and accost unexpectedly: The actor was waylaid by a swarm of admirers.

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

Historical Examples of waylay

  • I warn you that I shall lay all manner of traps, waylay your messengers, bribe them.

    The Lure of the Mask

    Harold MacGrath

  • The little house was quiet and dark with no one to waylay them.

    A Little Girl in Old Detroit

    Amanda Minnie Douglas

  • But Rose did not dare, and then there was Martin ready to waylay her.

    A Little Girl in Old Detroit

    Amanda Minnie Douglas

  • If you can intercept her before she gets there, or waylay her when she leaves, why there you are.

  • The huntsmen, hearing of it, stole out privately to waylay him in a snare.

    Fairy Book

    Sophie May

British Dictionary definitions for waylay


verb -lays, -laying or -laid (tr)
  1. to lie in wait for and attack
  2. 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