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From Middle English beleggen, bileggen, from Old English beleċġan (to cover, invest, surround, afflict, attribute to, charge with, accuse), equivalent to be- +‎ lay. Cognate with Dutch beleggen (to cover, overlay, belay), German belegen (to cover, occupy, belay), Swedish belägga (to pave).



belay (third-person singular simple present belays, present participle belaying, simple past and past participle belayed or belaid)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To surround; environ; enclose.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To overlay; adorn.
    • Spenser
      jacket [] belayed with silver lace
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To besiege; invest; surround.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To lie in wait for in order to attack; block up or obstruct.
  5. (nautical, transitive, intransitive) To make (a rope) fast by turning it around a fastening point such as a cleat or piton.
  6. (transitive) To secure (a person) to a rope or (a rope) to a person.
    He would need an experienced partner to belay him on the difficult climbs.
  7. (transitive) To lay aside; stop; cancel.
    I could only hope the remaining piton would belay his fall.
    Belay that order!
  8. (intransitive, nautical) The general command to stop or cease.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


belay (plural belays)

  1. (climbing) The securing of a rope to a rock or other projection.
  2. (climbing) The object to which a rope is secured.
  3. (climbing) A location at which a climber stops and builds an anchor with which to secure their partner.


  • belay at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • belay in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911