See also: Lay, láy, lấy, lẫy, and laþ

EnglishEdit

PronunciationEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English leyen, leggen, from Old English leċġan (to lay), from Proto-West Germanic *laggjan, from Proto-Germanic *lagjaną (to lay), causative form of Proto-Germanic *ligjaną (to lie, recline), from Proto-Indo-European *legʰ- (to lie, recline).

Cognate with West Frisian lizze (to lay, to lie), Dutch leggen (to lay), German legen (to lay), Norwegian Bokmål legge (to lay), Norwegian Nynorsk leggja (to lay), Swedish lägga (to lay), Icelandic leggja (to lay), Albanian lag (troop, band, war encampment).

VerbEdit

lay (third-person singular simple present lays, present participle laying, simple past and past participle laid)

  1. (transitive) To place down in a position of rest, or in a horizontal position.
    to lay a book on the table;   to lay a body in the grave
    A shower of rain lays the dust.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Daniel 6:17:
      A stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den.
    • 1735, author unknown, The New-England Primer; as reported by Shapiro, Fred R., The Yale Book of Quotations, Yale University Press, 2006, pages 549–550:
      Now I lay me down to sleep, / I pray the Lord my Soul to keep. / If I should die before I ’wake, / I pray the Lord my Soul to take.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., OCLC 222716698, page 2:
      He used to drop into my chambers once in a while to smoke, and was first-rate company. When I gave a dinner there was generally a cover laid for him.
    • 1977, Agatha Christie, chapter 4, in An Autobiography, part I, London: Collins, →ISBN:
      An indulgent playmate, Grannie would lay aside the long scratchy-looking letter she was writing (heavily crossed ‘to save notepaper’) and enter into the delightful pastime of ‘a chicken from Mr Whiteley's’.
  2. (transitive, archaic) To cause to subside or abate.
    Synonyms: becalm, settle down
    • 1590, Spenser, Edmund, The Faerie Queene, book II, canto viii, verse xlviii:
      The cloudes, as things affrayd, before him flye; / But all so soone as his outrageous powre / Is layd, they fiercely then begin to shoure []
    • 1662, Salusbury, Sir Thomas, Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two World Systems, Dialogue 2:
      But how upon the winds being laid, doth the ship cease to move?
    • 1849, Lord Tennyson, Alfred, In Memoriam A.H.H., canto XCVI:
      He faced the spectres of the mind
      And laid them: thus he came at length
      To find a stronger faith his own;
      And Power was with him in the night,
      Which makes the darkness and the light,
      And dwells not in the light alone,
      But in the darkness and the cloud
    • 1895, Chambers, Robert W[illiam], “The Yellow Sign”, in The King in Yellow:
      Tessie lay among the cushions, her face a gray blot in the gloom, but her hands were clasped in mine and I knew that she knew and read my thoughts as I read hers, for we had understood the mystery of the Hyades and the Phantom of Truth was laid.
  3. (transitive) To prepare (a plan, project etc.); to set out, establish (a law, principle).
    • 2006, James, Clive, North Face of Soho, Picador, published 2007, page 48:
      Even when I lay a long plan, it is never in the expectation that I will live to see it fulfilled.
  4. (transitive) To install certain building materials, laying one thing on top of another.
    lay brick;  lay flooring
  5. (transitive) To produce and deposit an egg.
    the hen laid an egg
    Did dinosaurs lay their eggs in a nest?
  6. (transitive) To bet (that something is or is not the case).
    I'll lay that he doesn't turn up on Monday.
  7. (transitive) To deposit (a stake) as a wager; to stake; to risk.
    • c. 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The VVinters Tale”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene i]:
      I dare lay mine honour / He will remain so.
    • 1902, John Buchan, The Outgoing of the Tide
      He laid a hundred guineas with the laird of Slofferfield that he would drive four horses through the Slofferfield loch, and in the prank he had his bit chariot dung to pieces and a good mare killed.
  8. (transitive, slang) To have sex with.
    Synonyms: lie by, lie with, sleep with; see also Thesaurus:copulate with
    • 1944, Chandler, Raymond, The Lady in the Lake, Penguin, published 2011, page 11:
      ‘It's because he's a no-good son of a bitch who thinks it is smart to lay his friends' wives and brag about it.’
  9. (nautical) To take a position; to come or go.
    to lay forward;  to lay aloft
  10. (law) To state; to allege.
    to lay the venue
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Bouvier to this entry?)
  11. (military) To point; to aim.
    to lay a gun
  12. (ropemaking) To put the strands of (a rope, a cable, etc.) in their proper places and twist or unite them.
    to lay a cable or rope
  13. (printing) To place and arrange (pages) for a form upon the imposing stone.
  14. (printing) To place (new type) properly in the cases.
  15. To apply; to put.
  16. To impose (a burden, punishment, command, tax, etc.).
    to lay a tax on land
  17. To impute; to charge; to allege.
    Synonyms: ascribe, attribute
  18. To present or offer.
    to lay an indictment in a particular county
    I have laid the facts of the matter before you.
  19. (intransitive, proscribed, see usage notes) To lie: to rest in a horizontal position on a surface.
    I found him laying on the floor.
ConjugationEdit
Usage notesEdit
  • The verb lay is sometimes used instead of the corresponding intransitive verb lie in informal settings, especially but not exclusively in spoken language. Similarly, laid, the simple past and past participle of lay, may also replace lay and lain, respectively the simple past and past participle of lie.
  • This intransitive use dates to Middle English, first appearing in the thirteenth century but only becoming common in the fifteenth century. The usage was still chiefly limited to the present tense and it seems that it was influenced by reflexive or passive use of lay.[1]
  • There are several factors that contribute to the loss of the distinction. One is that lay is used as both the base form of lay and as the simple past of lie, another is the use of lay as a reflexive verb meaning “to go lie (down)”. In any event, similar mergers exist in other Germanic languages; compare Afrikaans (to lie; to lay), where the two verbs have merged completely.
  • Traditional grammars, schoolbooks and style guides object to this intransitive use of lay and a certain stigma remains against the practice. Consequently the usage is common in speech but rarely found in edited writing or in more formal spoken situations.
  • Nautical use of lay as an intransitive verb is regarded as standard.[1]
Derived termsEdit
TranslationsEdit

Further readingEdit

NounEdit

lay (countable and uncountable, plural lays)

  1. Arrangement or relationship; layout.
    the lay of the land
  2. A share of the profits in a business.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 16
      I was already aware that in the whaling business they paid no wages; but all hands, including the captain, received certain shares of the profits called lays, and that these lays were proportioned to the degree of importance pertaining to the respective duties of the ship’s company.
  3. A lyrical, narrative poem written in octosyllabic couplets that often deals with tales of adventure and romance.
    • 1945: "The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun" by JRR Tolkien
      Sad is the note and sad the lay,
      but mirth we meet not every day.
  4. The direction a rope is twisted.
    Worm and parcel with the lay; turn and serve the other way.
  5. (colloquial) A casual sexual partner.
    • 1996, JoAnn Ross, Southern Comforts, MIRA (1996), →ISBN, page 166:
      Over the years she'd tried to tell himself that his uptown girl was just another lay.
    • 2000, R. J. Kaiser, Fruitcake, MIRA (2000), →ISBN, page 288:
      To find a place like that and be discreet about it, Jones figured he needed help, so he went to see his favorite lay, Juan Carillo's woman, Carmen.
    • 2011, Kelly Meding, Trance, Pocket Books (2011), →ISBN, pages 205-206:
      “Because I don't want William to be just another lay. I did the slut thing, T, and it got me into a lot of trouble years ago. []
    What was I, just another lay you can toss aside as you go on to your next conquest?
  6. (colloquial) An act of sexual intercourse.
    • 1993, David Halberstam, The Fifties, Open Road Integrated Media (2012), →ISBN, unnumbered page:
      Listening to this dismissal of his work, [Tennessee] Williams thought to himself of Wilder, “This character has never had a good lay.”
    • 2009, Fern Michaels, The Scoop, Kensington Books (2009), →ISBN, pages 212-213:
      [] She didn't become this germ freak until Thomas died. I wonder if she just needs a good lay, you know, an all-nighter?" Toots said thoughtfully.
    • 2011, Pamela Yaye, Promises We Make, Kimani Press (2011), →ISBN, unnumbered page:
      “What she needs is a good lay. If she had someone to rock her world on a regular basis, she wouldn't be such a raging bit—”
  7. (slang, archaic) A place or activity where someone spends a significant portion of their time.
  8. The laying of eggs.
    The hens are off the lay at present.
  9. (obsolete) A layer.
    • 1677, Hannah Woolley, The Compleat Servant-Maid, London: T. Passinger, p. 5,[1]
      [] lay in the bottom of an earthen pot some dried vine leaves, and so make a lay of Pears, and leaves till the pot is filled up, laying betwixt each lay some sliced Ginger []
    • 1718, Joseph Addison, Remarks on Several Parts of Italy, &c. in the Years 1701, 1702, 1703, London: J. Tonson, “Sienna, Leghorne, Pisa,” p. 300,[2]
      [] the whole Body of the Church is chequer’d with different Lays of White and Black Marble []
    • 1724, Thomas Spooner, A Compendious Treatise of the Diseases of the Skin, London, Chapter 2, p. 20,[3]
      [] when we examine the Scarf-Skin with a Microscope, it appears to be made up of several Lays of exceeding small Scales, which cover one another more or less []
    • 1766, Thomas Amory, The Life of John Buncle, Esq., London: J. Johnson and B. Davenport, Volume 2, Section 1, p. 16, footnote 1,[4]
      [] in one particular it exceeds the fen birds, for it has two tastes; it being brown and white meat: under a lay of brown is a lay of white meat []
  10. (obsolete) A basis or ground.
    • 1835, Richard architetto Brown, The Principles of Practical Perspective, page 122:
      On this lay or ground we should also add the finishing colours.
    • 1899, “MacColl v. Crompton Loom works”, in The Federal Reporter, volume 95, page 990:
      In the first MacColl patent the pattern chain and engaging rod were carried on the swinging lay on which the needle bars are mounted.
SynonymsEdit
Derived termsEdit
TranslationsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English laie, lawe, from Old English lagu (sea, flood, water, ocean), from Proto-West Germanic *lagu (water, sea), from Proto-Germanic *laguz (water, sea), from Proto-Indo-European *lókus (water, body of water, lake). Cognate with Icelandic lögur (liquid, fluid, lake), Latin lacus (lake, hollow, hole).

NounEdit

lay (plural lays)

  1. A lake.

Etymology 3Edit

From Middle English lay, from Old French lai, from Latin laicus, from Ancient Greek λαϊκός (laïkós). Doublet of laic.

AdjectiveEdit

lay (comparative more lay, superlative most lay)

  1. Not belonging to the clergy, but associated with them.
    They seemed more lay than clerical.
    a lay preacher; a lay brother
  2. Non-professional; not being a member of an organized institution.
    • 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter VII:
      He hasn't caught a mouse since he was a slip of a kitten. Except when eating, he does nothing but sleep. [...] It's a sort of disease. There's a scientific name for it. Trau- something. Traumatic symplegia, that's it. This cat has traumatic symplegia. In other words, putting it in simple language adapted to the lay mind, where other cats are content to get their eight hours, Augustus wants his twenty-four.
  3. (card games) Not trumps.
    a lay suit
  4. (obsolete) Not educated or cultivated; ignorant.
Related termsEdit
TranslationsEdit
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.

Etymology 4Edit

See lie.

VerbEdit

lay

  1. simple past tense of lie when pertaining to position.
    The baby lay in its crib and slept silently.
  2. (proscribed) To be in a horizontal position; to lie (from confusion with lie).
    • 1969 July, Bob Dylan, “Lay Lady Lay”, Nashville Skyline, Columbia:
      Lay, lady, lay. / Lay across my big brass bed.
    • 1974, John Denver, “Annie’s Song”, Back Home Again, RCA:
      Let me lay down beside you. / Let me always be with you.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 5Edit

From Middle English lay, from Old French lai (song, lyric, poem), from Frankish *laih (play, melody, song), from Proto-Germanic *laikaz, *laikiz (jump, play, dance, hymn), from Proto-Indo-European *leyg- (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.

NounEdit

lay (plural lays)

  1. A ballad or sung poem; a short poem or narrative, usually intended to be sung.
TranslationsEdit

Etymology 6Edit

From Middle English lay, laye, laiȝe, leyȝe, from Old English lǣh, lēh, northern (Anglian) variants of Old English lēah (lea). More at lea.

NounEdit

lay (plural lays)

  1. (obsolete) A meadow; a lea.
    • 1808, John Curwen, Hints on the Economy of Feeding Stock and Bettering the Condition of the Poor:
      Having destroyed all old lays, I have no other hay than clover.

Etymology 7Edit

From Middle English laige, læȝe, variants of Middle English lawe (law). More at law.

NounEdit

lay (plural lays)

  1. (obsolete) A law.
  2. (obsolete) An obligation; a vow.

Etymology 8Edit

Calque of Yiddish לייגן(leygn, to put, lay).

VerbEdit

lay (third-person singular simple present lays, present participle laying, simple past and past participle laid)

  1. (Judaism, transitive) To don or put on (tefillin (phylacteries)).

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 “lay v.¹”, in James A. H. Murray [et al.], editors, A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Oxford English Dictionary), volume VI, Part 1, London: Clarendon Press (1908), page 128.

AnagramsEdit


AnguthimriEdit

VerbEdit

lay

  1. (transitive, Mpakwithi) to carry

ReferencesEdit

  • Terry Crowley, The Mpakwithi dialect of Anguthimri (1981), page 186

Haitian CreoleEdit

EtymologyEdit

From French l'ail (the garlic)

NounEdit

lay

  1. garlic

LashiEdit

PronunciationEdit

PostpositionEdit

lay

  1. through
  2. across

VerbEdit

lay

  1. to pass

ReferencesEdit

  • Hkaw Luk (2017) A grammatical sketch of Lacid[5], Chiang Mai: Payap University (master thesis)

MalagasyEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Proto-Malayo-Polynesian *layaʀ, from Proto-Austronesian *layaʀ.

NounEdit

lay

  1. sail (a piece of fabric attached to a boat)
  2. tent

ReferencesEdit

  • lay in Malagasy dictionaries at malagasyword.org

Mauritian CreoleEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From French ail

NounEdit

lay

  1. garlic

Etymology 2Edit

From Malagasy ley (butterfly)

NounEdit

lay

  1. moth

ReferencesEdit

  • Baker, Philip & Hookoomsing, Vinesh Y. 1987. Dictionnaire de créole mauricien. Morisyen – English – Français

Middle EnglishEdit

VerbEdit

lay

  1. Alternative form of leie: simple past of lien

Seychellois CreoleEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From French ail

NounEdit

lay

  1. garlic

Etymology 2Edit

From Malagasy ley (butterfly)

NounEdit

lay

  1. moth

ReferencesEdit

  • Danielle D’Offay et Guy Lionnet, Diksyonner Kreol - Franse / Dictionnaire Créole Seychellois - Français

VietnameseEdit

PronunciationEdit

VerbEdit

lay

  1. to shake

Derived termsEdit

Derived terms