1 lay /ˈleɪ/ verb
lays; laid /ˈleɪd/ ; laying
1 lay
lays; laid /ˈleɪd/ ; laying
Learner's definition of LAY
[+ object] : to place (someone or something) down gently in a flat position
often + down
see also lay down (below)
[+ object]
: to place (something) into position on or along a surface : to build or set (something) on or in the ground or another surface
often + down often used figuratively
chiefly US : to spread (something) over a surface
[no object] informal : to be in a flat position on a surface : lie
◊ The use of lay to mean “lie” occurs commonly in informal speech but it is regarded as an error by many people.
[+ object]
: to beat or strike (something) down with force
: to change the condition of something in a specified way
of a bird, insect, etc. : to produce (an egg) outside of the body : to push (an egg) out of the body
[+ object]
[no object]
see also lay an egg at 1egg
[+ object] used like make, place, or put in various phrases
[+ object] : to make (something) ready : to prepare (something)
[+ object] informal : to risk losing (money) if your guess about what will happen is wrong : bet
[+ object] informal + offensive : to have sex with someone usually used in the phrase get laid

lay aside

[phrasal verb]
lay (something) aside or lay aside (something)
: to place (something) to one side
often used figuratively
: to keep (something) for special or future use : to reserve or save (something)

lay by

[phrasal verb]
lay (something) by or lay by (something)
: to keep (something) for special or future use

lay charges

: to accuse someone officially of doing something illegal

lay claim to

see 2claim

lay down

[phrasal verb]
lay (something) down or lay down (something)
: to clearly state (a rule, standard, guideline, etc.)
: to stop using (something)
lay (a weapon) down or lay down (a weapon) : to put (a weapon) down and stop fighting
lay down your life formal : to give up your life for a good purpose : to die for a good cause
lay down the law : to make a strong statement about what someone is or is not allowed to do
see also 1lay 1 (above)

lay eyes on

see 1eye

lay hold of

see 2hold

lay in

[phrasal verb]
lay (something) in or lay in (something)
: to get and store (a supply of something) for future use

lay into

[phrasal verb]
lay into (someone or something) informal
: to angrily attack or criticize (someone or something)

lay it on the line

see 1line

lay off

[phrasal verb]
lay (someone) off or lay off (someone) : to stop employing (someone) because there is not enough work
see also layoff
lay off (something) informal : to stop doing, using, eating, or drinking (something)
lay off or lay off (someone) informal : to leave someone alone : to stop annoying someone

lay on

[phrasal verb]
lay (something) on or lay on (something)
: to spread (something) over a surface often used figuratively
British : to provide (something) for someone
lay it on (thick) informal : to speak in a way that is exaggerated and not sincere

lay out

[phrasal verb]
lay (something) out or lay out (something)
: to place (something) on a surface in a carefully arranged way
: to arrange (something) in a particular pattern or design
see also layout
: to plan the details of (something)
: to explain the details of (something)
informal : to spend (money)
see also outlay
lay (someone's body) out or lay out (someone's body) : to prepare (someone's dead body) so that it can be seen by family and friends before it is buried
lay (someone) out or lay out (someone) informal : to make (someone) unconscious : to knock (someone) out

lay over

[phrasal verb] US
: to make a stop in the middle of a journey
lay (someone) over : to cause (someone) to stop in the middle of a journey usually used as (be) laid over see also layover

lay siege to

see siege

lay (someone) to rest

see 2rest

lay to rest (something)

or lay (something) to rest
see 2rest

lay up

[phrasal verb]
lay (something) up or lay up (something)
old-fashioned : to store (something)
: to take (something) out of active use or service
lay (someone) up or lay up (someone) : to cause (someone) to stay at home or in bed because of illness or injury usually used as (be) laid up

lay waste to

: to cause very bad damage to (something)

lay your hands on

see 1hand

the goose that lays the golden egg

see 1goose
2 lay /ˈleɪ/ noun
plural lays
2 lay
plural lays
Learner's definition of LAY
[count] informal + offensive
: a person who is being described as a sexual partner
see also lay of the land
3 lay
3 lay
Learner's definition of LAY
past tense of 1lie
4 lay /ˈleɪ/ adjective
4 lay
Learner's definition of LAY
always used before a noun
: not trained in a certain profession : not having a lot of knowledge about a certain thing
: belonging to a religion but not officially a priest, minister, etc.