• Not belonging to the clergy, but associated with them.

    "a lay preacher; a lay brother"

  • "They seemed more lay than clerical."

  • Non-professional; not being a member of an organized institution.
  • (obsolete) Not educated or cultivated; ignorant.


  • A ballad or sung poem; a short poem or narrative, usually intended to be sung.
  • (obsolete) An obligation; a vow.
  • Arrangement or relationship; layout.

    "the lay of the land"

  • (colloquial) A casual sexual partner.

    "What was I, just another lay you can toss aside as you go on to your next conquest?"

  • A lake.
  • (obsolete) A law.
  • The direction a rope is twisted.

    "Worm and parcel with the lay; turn and serve the other way."

  • (slang, archaic) A plan; a scheme.
  • (obsolete) A meadow; a lea.
  • A share of the profits in a business.
  • (colloquial) An act of sexual intercourse.


  • To impose (a burden, punishment, command, tax, etc.).

    "to lay a tax on land"

  • (transitive) To place down in a position of rest, or in a horizontal position.

    "to lay a book on the table; "

  • (transitive) To prepare (a plan, project etc.); to set out, establish (a law, principle).
  • (transitive) To bet (that something is or is not the case).

    "I'll lay that he doesn't turn up on Monday."

  • (nautical) To take a position; to come or go.

    "to lay forward;"

  • (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"

  • (proscribed) To be in a horizontal position; to lie (from confusion with lie).
  • To apply; to put.
  • To present or offer.

    "to lay an indictment in a particular county; "

  • (transitive, archaic) To cause to subside or abate.
  • (transitive) To produce and deposit an egg.
  • (transitive, slang) To have sex with.
  • (military) To point; to aim.

    "to lay a gun"

  • simple past tense of lie when pertaining to position.

    "The baby lay in its crib and slept silently."

  • (printing) To place (new type) properly in the cases.
  • To impute; to charge; to allege.
  • (transitive) To place down in a position of rest, or in a horizontal position.

    "A shower of rain lays the dust."

  • (Judaism, transitive) To don (put on) (tefillin (phylacteries)).
  • (transitive) To install certain building materials, laying one thing on top of another.

    "lay brick;"

  • (transitive) To deposit (a stake) as a wager; to stake; to risk.
  • (law) To state; to allege.
  • (printing) To place and arrange (pages) for a form upon the imposing stone.

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