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See also: layoff and lay-off




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

  1. (transitive, chiefly US, idiomatic) (of an employer) To dismiss (workers) from employment, e.g. at a time of low business volume, often with a severance package.
  2. (transitive) (of a bookmaker) To place all or part of a bet with another bookmaker in order to reduce risk.
  3. (transitive, idiomatic) To cease, quit, stop (doing something).
    Lay off the singing, will you! I'm trying to study.
    When are you gonna lay off smoking?
  4. (transitive and intransitive, idiomatic) To stop bothering, teasing, or pestering someone; to leave (someone) alone.
    Just lay off, okay! I've had enough!
    Things have been better since the boss has been laying off a little.
    I told him to lay off me but he wouldn't stop.
    Lay off it, already!

Usage notesEdit

  • In the first two transitive senses the object can come before or after the particle (laid off the whole department). If the object is a pronoun, then it must come before the particle (laid them off).
  • In the final two idiomatic "cease" senses, all objects, including pronouns, come after the complete phrase (lay off me!).


Derived termsEdit