What does lay mean?

Definitions for lay

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word lay.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ballad, lay(noun)

    a narrative song with a recurrent refrain

  2. ballad, lay(adj)

    a narrative poem of popular origin

  3. laic, lay, secular(adj)

    characteristic of those who are not members of the clergy

    "set his collar in laic rather than clerical position"; "the lay ministry"

  4. lay(verb)

    not of or from a profession

    "a lay opinion as to the cause of the disease"

  5. put, set, place, pose, position, lay(verb)

    put into a certain place or abstract location

    "Put your things here"; "Set the tray down"; "Set the dogs on the scent of the missing children"; "Place emphasis on a certain point"

  6. lay, put down, repose(verb)

    put in a horizontal position

    "lay the books on the table"; "lay the patient carefully onto the bed"

  7. lay(verb)

    prepare or position for action or operation

    "lay a fire"; "lay the foundation for a new health care plan"

  8. lay(verb)

    lay eggs

    "This hen doesn't lay"

  9. lay(verb)

    impose as a duty, burden, or punishment

    "lay a responsibility on someone"


  1. lay(Noun)

    Plural form of laywoman.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Lay

    of Lie, to recline

  2. Lay(adj)

    of or pertaining to the laity, as distinct from the clergy; as, a lay person; a lay preacher; a lay brother

  3. Lay(adj)

    not educated or cultivated; ignorant

  4. Lay(adj)

    not belonging to, or emanating from, a particular profession; unprofessional; as, a lay opinion regarding the nature of a disease

  5. Lay(noun)

    the laity; the common people

  6. Lay(noun)

    a meadow. See Lea

  7. Lay(noun)

    faith; creed; religious profession

  8. Lay(noun)

    a law

  9. Lay(noun)

    an obligation; a vow

  10. Lay(adj)

    a song; a simple lyrical poem; a ballad

  11. Lay(adj)

    a melody; any musical utterance

  12. Lay(verb)

    to cause to lie down, to be prostrate, or to lie against something; to put or set down; to deposit; as, to lay a book on the table; to lay a body in the grave; a shower lays the dust

  13. Lay(verb)

    to place in position; to establish firmly; to arrange with regularity; to dispose in ranks or tiers; as, to lay a corner stone; to lay bricks in a wall; to lay the covers on a table

  14. Lay(verb)

    to prepare; to make ready; to contrive; to provide; as, to lay a snare, an ambush, or a plan

  15. Lay(verb)

    to spread on a surface; as, to lay plaster or paint

  16. Lay(verb)

    to cause to be still; to calm; to allay; to suppress; to exorcise, as an evil spirit

  17. Lay(verb)

    to cause to lie dead or dying

  18. Lay(verb)

    to deposit, as a wager; to stake; to risk

  19. Lay(verb)

    to bring forth and deposit; as, to lay eggs

  20. Lay(verb)

    to apply; to put

  21. Lay(verb)

    to impose, as a burden, suffering, or punishment; to assess, as a tax; as, to lay a tax on land

  22. Lay(verb)

    to impute; to charge; to allege

  23. Lay(verb)

    to impose, as a command or a duty; as, to lay commands on one

  24. Lay(verb)

    to present or offer; as, to lay an indictment in a particular county; to lay a scheme before one

  25. Lay(verb)

    to state; to allege; as, to lay the venue

  26. Lay(verb)

    to point; to aim; as, to lay a gun

  27. Lay(verb)

    to put the strands of (a rope, a cable, etc.) in their proper places and twist or unite them; as, to lay a cable or rope

  28. Lay(verb)

    to place and arrange (pages) for a form upon the imposing stone

  29. Lay(verb)

    to place (new type) properly in the cases

  30. Lay(verb)

    to produce and deposit eggs

  31. Lay(verb)

    to take a position; to come or go; as, to lay forward; to lay aloft

  32. Lay(verb)

    to lay a wager; to bet

  33. Lay(noun)

    that which lies or is laid or is conceived of as having been laid or placed in its position; a row; a stratum; a layer; as, a lay of stone or wood

  34. Lay(verb)

    a wager

  35. Lay(verb)

    a job, price, or profit

  36. Lay(verb)

    a share of the proceeds or profits of an enterprise; as, when a man ships for a whaling voyage, he agrees for a certain lay

  37. Lay(verb)

    a measure of yarn; a lea. See 1st Lea (a)

  38. Lay(verb)

    the lathe of a loom. See Lathe, 3

  39. Lay(verb)

    a plan; a scheme

  40. Lay

    of Lie

  41. Origin: [OF. lei faith, law, F. loi law. See Legal.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Lay

    pa.t. of lie, to lay one's self down.

  2. Lay

    lā, v.t. to cause to lie down: to place or set down: to beat down: to spread on a surface: to conjoin: to spread the proper thing on: to calm: to appease: to wager: to bring forth: to impose: to charge: to present.—v.i. to produce eggs: to wager, bet:—pr.p. lay′ing; pa.t. and pa.p. laid.—n. situation: (Shak.) a bet: a share of profit, esp. in whaling enterprises: (slang) a field or method of operations, esp. of thieves: a measure in thread manufacture, about 800 yards.—ns. Lay′er, that which lays—e.g. a hen, a bricklayer: a bed or stratum: a shoot laid for propagation; Lay′ering, the propagation of plants by layers; Lay′ing, the first coat of plaster: the act or time of laying eggs: the eggs laid; Lay′-out, that which is laid out, a spread, for dining, gaming, &c.; Lay′-stall, a place for laying dung, rubbish, &c.—Lay about one, to deal blows vigorously or on all sides; Lay aside, away, to discard: to put apart for future use; Lay at, to endeavour to strike; Lay bare, to make bare, disclose; Lay before, to submit to, as of plans; Lay by, to keep for future use, to dismiss, to put off; Lay by the heels (see Heel); Lay down, to give up: to deposit, as a pledge: to apply, as embroidery: to delineate, describe: to affirm, assert: (rare) to store for future use; Lay heads together, to consult together, to deliberate; Lay hold of, or on, to seize, apprehend; Lay in, to get in a supply of; Lay into, to chastise thoroughly; Lay it on, to charge exorbitantly, to do anything with profuseness; Lay off, to cast aside: to mark off; Lay on, to apply with force, to strike, to act with vigour; Lay one's self out to, to put forth one's best efforts for anything; Lay on load (Spens.), to belabour; Lay on the table (see Table); Lay open, to make bare, to show, expose; Lay out, to expand, to display: to expend, to plan, to exert: to dress in grave-clothes: to take measures, seek; Lay siege to, to besiege: to importune; Lay the land, to cause the land to disappear below the horizon by sailing away from it; Lay to, to apply with vigour: to bring a ship to rest; Lay to heart (see Heart); Lay under, to subject to; Lay up, to store up, preserve: to confine to one's bed or room for a time: to put a ship in dock after dismantling; Lay upon, to wager upon; Lay wait, to lie in wait, or in ambush; Lay waste, to devastate, to destroy.—Laying on of hands (see Hand).—Laid embroidery, gimped or raised embroidery.—On a lay, on shares, as when a crew is shipped 'on a lay' instead of receiving wages. [Lay is the causal to lie, from A.S. lecgan; Ice. leggja, Ger. legen.]

  3. Lay

    lā, n. a song: a lyric or narrative poem. [O. Fr. lai, from Celt.; cf. Gael. laoidh, a hymn.]

  4. Lay

    lā, Laic, -al, lā′ik, -al, adjs. pertaining to the people: not clerical: unprofessional: (cards) not trumps.—v.t. Lā′icise, to deprive of a clerical character.—ns. Lā′ity, the people as distinguished from any particular profession, esp. the clerical; Lay′-bap′tism, baptism administered by a layman; Lay′-broth′er, a layman: a man under vows of celibacy and obedience, who serves a monastery, but is exempt from the studies and religious services required of the monks; Lay′-commun′ion, the state of being in the communion of the church as a layman; Lay′-imprō′priator, an impropriator who is a layman (see Impropriator); Lay′-lord, a civil lord of the Admiralty; Lay′man, one of the laity: a non-professional man; Lay′-read′er, in the Anglican Church, a layman who receives authority to read the lessons or a part of the service, and who may in certain cases preach or read the sermons of others. [O. Fr. lai—L. laicus—Gr. laikoslaos, the people.]

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. lay

    1. Direct or adjust the aim of a weapon. 2. Setting of a weapon for a given range, a given direction, or both. 3. To drop one or more aerial bombs or aerial mines onto the surface from an aircraft. 4. To spread a smoke screen on the ground from an aircraft. 5. To calculate or project a course. 6. To lay on: a. to execute a bomber strike; b. to set up a mission.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. lay

    The order to desist rowing, without laying the oars in.--Lay out on your oars! is the order to give way, or pull with greater force.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. lay

    To quit; to surrender the use of; as, lay down one’s arms. To lay for, is to attempt something by ambuscade.

  2. lay

    To point or aim; as, to lay a gun. See Pointing.

Suggested Resources

  1. LAY

    What does LAY stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the LAY acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'lay' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1065

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'lay' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2221

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'lay' in Verbs Frequency: #222

How to pronounce lay?

  1. Alex
    US English

How to say lay in sign language?

  1. lay


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of lay in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of lay in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of lay in a Sentence

  1. Robert Byrne:

    Love will find a lay.

  2. Angel Santiago:

    We lay there for hours.

  3. Donald Tusk:

    This is the last call to lay the cards on the table.

  4. Assyrian Proverb:

    If you were born lucky, even your rooster will lay eggs.

  5. The Omani shed:

    Lay aside dreams of greatness and embrace dreams of dependency

Images & Illustrations of lay

  1. laylaylaylaylay

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for lay

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"lay." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 23 Aug. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/lay>.

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