Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause to lie down: lay a child in its crib.
  • transitive v. To place in or bring to a particular position: lay the cloth over the painting.
  • transitive v. To bury.
  • transitive v. To cause to be in a particular condition: The remark laid him open to criticism.
  • transitive v. To put or set down: lay new railroad track.
  • transitive v. To produce and deposit: lay eggs.
  • transitive v. To cause to subside; calm or allay: "chas'd the clouds ... and laid the winds” ( John Milton).
  • transitive v. To put up to or against: lay an ear to the door.
  • transitive v. To put forward as a reproach or an accusation: They laid the blame on us.
  • transitive v. To put or set in order or readiness for use: lay the table for lunch.
  • transitive v. To devise; contrive: lay plans.
  • transitive v. To spread over a surface: lay paint on a canvas.
  • transitive v. To place or give (importance): lay stress on clarity of expression.
  • transitive v. To impose as a burden or punishment: lay a penalty upon the offender.
  • transitive v. To present for examination: lay a case before a committee.
  • transitive v. To put forward as a demand or an assertion: laid claim to the estate.
  • transitive v. Games To place (a bet); wager.
  • transitive v. To aim (a gun or cannon).
  • transitive v. To place together (strands) to be twisted into rope.
  • transitive v. To make in this manner: lay up cable.
  • transitive v. Vulgar Slang To have sexual intercourse with.
  • intransitive v. To produce and deposit eggs.
  • intransitive v. To bet; wager.
  • intransitive v. Nonstandard To lie.
  • intransitive v. To engage energetically in an action.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To put oneself into the position indicated.
  • n. The direction the strands of a rope or cable are twisted in: a left lay.
  • n. The amount of such twist.
  • n. The state of one that lays eggs: a hen coming into lay.
  • n. Vulgar Slang Sexual intercourse.
  • n. Vulgar Slang A partner in sexual intercourse.
  • lay about To strike blows on all sides.
  • lay aside To give up; abandon: lay aside all hope of rescue.
  • lay aside To save for the future.
  • lay away To reserve for the future; save.
  • lay away To put aside and hold for future delivery.
  • lay by To save for future use.
  • lay by Nautical To remain stationary while heading into the wind.
  • lay down To give up and surrender: laid down their arms.
  • lay down To specify: laid down the rules.
  • lay down To store for the future.
  • lay down Nonstandard To lie down.
  • lay for Informal To be waiting to attack: Muggers lay for the unsuspecting pedestrian in the dark alley.
  • lay in To store for future use: lay in supplies for an Arctic winter.
  • lay into Slang To scold sharply.
  • lay into Slang To attack physically; beat up.
  • lay off To terminate the employment of (a worker), especially temporarily.
  • lay off To mark off: lay off an area for a garden.
  • lay off Slang To stop doing something; quit.
  • lay off Games To place all or a part of (an accepted bet) with another bookie in order to reduce the risk.
  • lay on To apply (something) by or as if by spreading onto a flat surface: laid on a thick Southern accent.
  • lay on To prepare, usually in an elaborate fashion; arrange: laid on cocktails for 50 at the last minute.
  • lay on Slang To present or reveal to; confront with: "went around talking to people about anything until he could lay his standard question on them” ( John Vinocur).
  • lay out To make a detailed plan for.
  • lay out To clothe and prepare (a corpse) for burial.
  • lay out To rebuke harshly: She laid me out for breaking the vase.
  • lay out To knock to the ground or unconscious.
  • lay out To expend; spend: lay out a fortune on jewelry.
  • lay out To display: lay out merchandise; lay the merchandise out.
  • lay over To make a stopover in the course of a journey.
  • lay to Nautical To bring (a ship) to a stop in open water.
  • lay to Nautical To remain stationary while heading into the wind.
  • lay up To stock for future use: lay up supplies for a long journey.
  • lay up Informal To confine with an illness or injury: was laid up for a month.
  • lay up Nautical To put (a ship) in dock, as for repairs.
  • lay up Sports To hit a golf shot less far than one is able so as to avoid a hazard.
  • idiom lay down the law To assert positively and often arrogantly.
  • idiom lay it on thick Informal To exaggerate; overstate.
  • idiom lay it on thick Informal To flatter effusively.
  • idiom lay of the land The nature, arrangement, or disposition of something.
  • idiom lay rubber Slang To accelerate a motor vehicle suddenly from a halt to a high speed, thereby spinning the wheels and depositing on the road a thin film of burned rubber from the rear tire or tires.
  • idiom lay waste To ravage: Rebel troops laid waste the town.
  • adj. Of, relating to, or involving the laity: a lay preacher.
  • adj. Not of or belonging to a particular profession; nonprofessional: a lay opinion as to the seriousness of the disease.
  • n. A narrative poem, such as one sung by medieval minstrels; a ballad.
  • n. A song; a tune.
  • v. Past tense of lie1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A lake.
  • adj. Non-professional; not being a member of an organized institution.
  • adj. Not belonging to the clergy, but associated with them.
  • v. Simple past of lie when pertaining to position.
  • v. To be in a horizontal position; to lie (from confusion with lie).
  • n. A ballad or sung poem; a short poem or narrative, usually intended to be sung.
  • v. To place down in a position of rest, or in a horizontal position.
  • v. To cause to subside or abate.
  • v. To leave something somewhere.
  • v. To prepare (a plan, project etc.); to set out, establish (a law, principle).
  • v. To install certain building materials, laying one thing on top of another.
  • v. To produce and deposit an egg.
  • v. To wager that an event will not take place.
  • v. To have sex with.
  • v. to lie (be in a horizontal or resting position)
  • n. Arrangement or relationship; layout.
  • n. A share of the profits in a business.
  • n. The direction a rope is twisted.
  • n. A casual sexual partner.
  • n. An act of sexual intercourse.
  • n. the lay of the land (rather than the standard the lie of the land)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • of lie, to recline.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to the laity, as distinct from the clergy
  • adj. Not educated or cultivated; ignorant.
  • adj. Not belonging to, or emanating from, a particular profession; unprofessional.
  • n. The laity; the common people.
  • n. A meadow. See lea.
  • n. Faith; creed; religious profession.
  • n. A law.
  • n. An obligation; a vow.
  • adj. A song; a simple lyrical poem; a ballad.
  • adj. A melody; any musical utterance.
  • transitive v. To cause to lie down, to be prostrate, or to lie against something; to put or set down; to deposit
  • transitive v. To place in position; to establish firmly; to arrange with regularity; to dispose in ranks or tiers
  • transitive v. To prepare; to make ready; to contrive; to provide.
  • transitive v. To spread on a surface.
  • transitive v. To cause to be still; to calm; to allay; to suppress; to exorcise, as an evil spirit.
  • transitive v. To cause to lie dead or dying.
  • transitive v. To deposit, as a wager; to stake; to risk.
  • transitive v. To bring forth and deposit.
  • transitive v. To apply; to put.
  • transitive v. To impose, as a burden, suffering, or punishment; to assess, as a tax.
  • transitive v. To impute; to charge; to allege.
  • transitive v. To impose, as a command or a duty.
  • transitive v. To present or offer
  • transitive v. To state; to allege.
  • transitive v. To point; to aim.
  • transitive v. To put the strands of (a rope, a cable, etc.) in their proper places and twist or unite them.
  • transitive v.
  • transitive v. To place and arrange (pages) for a form upon the imposing stone.
  • transitive v. To place (new type) properly in the cases.
  • intransitive v. To produce and deposit eggs.
  • intransitive v. To take a position; to come or go
  • intransitive v. To lay a wager; to bet.
  • n. That which lies or is laid or is conceived of as having been laid or placed in its position; a row; a stratum; a layer.
  • n. A wager.
  • n.
  • n. A job, price, or profit.
  • n. A share of the proceeds or profits of an enterprise.
  • n.
  • n. A measure of yarn; a lea. See 1st Lea (a).
  • n. The lathe of a loom. See Lathe, 3.
  • n. A plan; a scheme.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cause to lie or rest; put or place in a position or situation, or as a deposit or a burden; deposit; place; impose: as, to lay a thing down; to lay one's hands on a thing; to lay a submarine cable; to lay an embargo on something; to lay a tax on land.
  • To put or place in some situation, state, or condition expressed by a qualifying adjunct, such as aside, away, by, down, up, etc. (see the phrases below): as, to lay by money; to lay away one's clothes in lavender.
  • Specifically To cause to lie in a prostrate, reclining, or recumbent position, as in or on a bed or on the ground.
  • To strike down; beat prostrate; overthrow and make prostrate or level.
  • To cause to lie quiet or still; bring to a state of rest or quietness; put down; allay.
  • To place in contiguity or near relation; juxtapose; annex; conjoin.
  • To place in an orderly fashion, as in courses or layers; dispose serially or in courses; put together in proper position: as, to lay bricks; to lay the timbers of a ship.
  • To form or construct by arranging and placing in order the serial parts or elements of: as, to lay a foundation; to lay a mine in besieging a town; to lay a floor.
  • To put into shape or form mentally; settle or determine upon; fix; arrange; contrive: often with out: as, to lay plans; to lay out a course of action.
  • To direct by planning; mark out; order: as, the captain laid his course toward the land.
  • To put down or deposit as a stake or wager; stake; risk as a bet on a contingency; wager; bet; venture.
  • To place on or over a surface; apply or fix superficially; superpose: as, to lay on paint or plaster; to lay one fabric over another in sewing.
  • To cover wholly or in part with something else; coat or mark with something affixed: as, to lay a rope with sennit, or a garment with braid.
  • To deposit the proper things on or in: in certain special uses: as, to lay a table (with cloth, dishes, etc.); to lay printers' cases (with new type).
  • To bring forth and deposit, as eggs: said specifically of any oviparous animal.
  • To put or place to one's account or credit; charge; impute.
  • To present or prefer: as, to lay claim to something.
  • Specifically, in law:
  • To present or bring before a court of justice: as, to lay an indictment.
  • To allege; state: as, to lay the venue; to lay damages.
  • To search; haunt.
  • Same as to lay for (which see, under II.).
  • Church embroidery in general.
  • To put away permanently; give up; abandon; discard: as, to lay aside a bad habit.
  • To lay by or aside for preservation; place in store for safe keeping or future use: as. to lay away a hundred dollars a year.
  • To put aside for future use; lay up; reserve: as, to lay by a part of one's income.
  • To stake or deposit as a pledge, equivalent, or satisfaction: as, lay down your money.
  • To fasten down or apply as embroidery; embroider; decorate.
  • To set down, as a plan on paper; delineate: as, to lay down a chart of a shore or sea; in ship-building, to lay off (see below).
  • To set down as a basis for argument or action; in general, to affirm; assert: as, to lay down a proposition or principle; especially, to assert magisterially or dictatorially: as, to lay down the law.
  • To store away for future use, as wine or provisions in a cellar.
  • To dismiss, as a workman, usually temporarily.
  • To measure or mark off; delineate on paper, as the details of a surveyor plan.
  • In ship-building, to transfer (the plans of a ship) from the paper to the full size on the floor of the mold-loft.
  • To turn from any point or object, as the head of a boat
  • To supply, as water, gas, etc., to houses by means of pipes leading from a main reservoir: sometimes used figuratively in this sense.
  • To turn toward any point or object, as the head of a boat.
  • To make an opening in; wound: cut in such a way as to expose what is inside or underneath.
  • (b ) To display; show or exhibit.
  • To show or set forth; expose.
  • To plan; dispose in order the several parts of: as, to lay out a garden.
  • To dress in grave-clothes and place in a recumbent and extended posture for burial: said of a corpse.
  • To disable; place hors de combat: as, he laid him out with a single blow or shot.
  • Figuratively, to importune; besiege with constant solicitations.
  • (b ) To attack or harass.
  • Nautical, to check the motion of, as a ship, and cause her to be stationary.
  • To reserve; hold in reserve.
  • To confine to the bed or one's room, as by illness; incapacitate or lay aside for a time.
  • Nautical, to dismantle, as a ship, and put in a dock or other place of security.
  • To lay together and secure, as the strands of a rope by twisting, or the wires of a wire cable by twisting or binding.
  • Synonyms Set, Place, etc. See put.
  • To bring forth or produce eggs.
  • To contrive; form a scheme; lay plans; take steps.
  • To wager; bet; stake money: as, to lay on a race-horse.
  • Nautical, to put or place one's self in a certain position; go or come as indicated: as, lay aloft; lay down from aloft; lay aft.
  • To lie (in most uses). See lie.
  • To take measures; seek.
  • Synonyms Lie, Lay. See lie, intransitive verb
  • n. That which lies or is laid; a layer or stratum.
  • n. In wool-manuf., a quantity of wool or other fiber in a willow or carding-machine.

Etymologies

Middle English leien, from Old English lecgan.
Middle English, from Old French lai, from Late Latin lāicus, from Greek lāikos, of the people, from lāos, the people.
Middle English, from Old French lai.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English laie, lawe, from Old English lagu ("sea, flood, water, ocean"), from Proto-Germanic *laguz (“water, sea”), from Proto-Indo-European *lakw- (“water, body of water, lake”). Cognate with Icelandic lögur ("liquid, fluid, lake"), Latin lacus ("lake, hollow, hole"). (Wiktionary)
From Old French lai (Wiktionary)
From Middle English lay, from Old French lai ("song, lyric, poem"), from Frankish *laik, *laih ("play, melody, song"), from Proto-Germanic *laikaz, *laikiz (“jump, play, dance, hymn”), from Proto-Indo-European *loig-, *(e)laiǵ- (“to jump, spring, play”). Akin to Old High German leih ("a play, skit, melody, song"), Middle High German leich ("piece of music, epic song played on a harp"), Old English lācan ("to move quickly, fence, sing"). See lake. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English layen, leggen, from Old English lecgan ("to lay"), from Proto-Germanic *lagjanan (“to lay”), causative form of Proto-Germanic *ligjanan, *legjanan (“to lie, recline”), from Proto-Indo-European *legʰ- (“to lie, recline”). Cognate with Dutch leggen ("to lay"), German legen ("to lay"), Swedish lägga ("to lay"), Icelandic leggja ("to lay"), Albanian lag ("troop, band, war encampment"). (Wiktionary)
From the verb. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • lay - lea - leed: land left fallow

    March 26, 2009