1 place, put (down), set (down), position, deposit; spread:
Lay the cloth on the table, then lay the book on top of it.
2 set, arrange:
The table was laid for four.
3 Often, lay down. establish, build, construct:
Before I can argue my case, I must lay a firm foundation of trust.
4 stake, bet, wager, gamble, hazard, risk:
I'll lay ten to one that you won't be able to move that crate.
5 destroy, suppress, exorcize:
Did Edward ever succeed in laying that ghost of a rumour that haunted his career for so long?
6 present, offer, submit, set or put forth, advance, bring or put forward, set out:
We have laid our proposal before the board.
7 charge, impute, direct, lodge, prefer, aim, attribute, ascribe:
There is no justification for laying the blame on Leonard.
8 copulate (with), couple (with), have (sexual) intercourse (with), sleep (with), lie (with), bed, go to bed (with), mate (with), have sex (with), go all the way (with), service, Slang screw, shack up (with), Brit roger, Taboo fuck.
9 lay bare. expose, reveal, uncover, disclose, divulge, bring to light, show, unveil, lift the veil from:
She laid bare the most intimate details of their relationship.
10 lay down. stipulate, require, demand, insist on, dictate:
She laid down the conditions on which he could return home.
11 lay hold of. seize, grab, snatch, nab, catch or get hold of, get:
I have been trying to lay hold of that book for weeks.
12 lay in. See 19 (a), below.
13 lay into. attack, assault, set about, assail, lambaste, belabour:
We laid into the gang and gave them a sound drubbing.
14 lay it on. exaggerate, overstate, embroider:
Don't believe what Frank tells you - he really lays it on pretty thick sometimes
15 lay low. See 18 (c), below.
16 lay off.
(a) suspend; dismiss, discharge, fire, let go, cashier, drum out of the corps, Colloq (give the) sack, (give the) axe, kick out, (give the) boot, boot out, give (someone) his or her walking papers:
Fifty workers were laid off because business was slack.
(b) let up, quit (it), stop (it), cease, desist, leave off, leave alone, Colloq knock (it) off, cut (it) out, come off (it):
I wish you'd lay off for a while and stop bothering me. You must lay off phoning your mother twice a day
17 lay on.
(a) provide, cater (for), supply:
The company laid on quite a Christmas party.
(b) impose, charge, assess; demand, require:
In addition to enforcing payment of back taxes, they laid on a penalty of 20 per cent
18 lay out.
(a) design, plan, outline, sketch, arrange, set up:
The art department laid out the advertisements for the new campaign.
(b) advance, disburse, spend, expend, pay, give, contribute, Colloq shell out, ante up, kick in with, fork out:
The salesmen often lay out the money for their expenses and are then reimbursed.
(c) lay low, floor, prostrate, knock down or out, strike or cut down, flatten, fell, strike down, Colloq knock for six, kayo or K.O.:
He laid out the challenger with a blow to the solar plexus.
19 lay up.
(a) lay in, amass, accumulate, save (up), hoard, preserve, store, keep, put away, put by:
We laid up a supply of canned goods for the winter.
(b) hospitalize, incapacitate, disable, confine to bed, keep indoors:
She has been laid up with a virus all week.
1 secular, non-clerical, laic, non-ecclesiastical:
He served as a lay preacher for many years.
2 amateur, non-professional, non-specialist:
Members of the lay public did not immediately understand the dangers of the greenhouse effect.
ballad, song, air, refrain, strain, melody; poem, ode, lyric, rhyme, ballade:
Macaulay wrote a book entitled Lays of Ancient Rome .
verb, adjective, noun-see also LIE v.
+ verb (laid, laid )
put down / spread
1 [usually +adv./prep.] to put sb/sth in a particular position, especially when it is done gently or carefully: [VN] She laid the baby down gently on the bed. + He laid a hand on my arm. + The horse laid back its ears. + Relatives laid wreaths on the grave. + [VN-ADJ] The cloth should be laid flat.
Help Note: Some speakers confuse this sense of lay with lie, especially in the present and progressive tenses. However, lay has an object and lie does not: She was lying on the beach. + She was laying on the beach. + Why don't you lie on the bed? + Why don't you lay on the bed? In the past tenses laid (from lay) is often wrongly used for lay or lain (from lie):
She had lain there all night. + She had laid there all night.
2 [VN] ~ sth (down) to put sth down, especially on the floor, ready to be used: to lay a carpet / cable / pipe + The foundations of the house are being laid today. + (figurative) They had laid the groundwork for future development.
3 [VN] ~ A (on / over B)
~ B with A to spread sth on sth; to cover sth with a layer of sth: Before they started they laid newspaper on the floor. + The floor was laid with newspaper. + The grapes were laid to dry on racks.
4 if a bird, an insect, a fish, etc. lays eggs, it produces them from its body: [VN] The cuckoo lays its eggs in other birds' nests. + new-laid eggs + [V] The hens are not laying well (= not producing many eggs).
5 [VN] (BrE) to arrange knives, forks, plates, etc. on a table ready for a meal
to lay the table
6 [VN] to present a proposal, some information, etc. to sb for them to think about and decide on: The bill was laid before Parliament.
7 [VN] (formal) to put sb/sth in a particular position or state, especially a difficult or unpleasant one: to lay a responsibility / burden on sb + to lay sb under an obligation to do sth
8 [VN] used with a noun to form a phrase that has the same meaning as the verb related to the noun: to lay the blame on sb (= to blame sb) + Our teacher lays great stress on good spelling (= stresses it strongly).
plan / trap
9 [VN] to prepare sth in detail: to lay a trap for sb + She began to lay her plans for her escape. + Bad weather can upset even the best-laid plans.
10 [VN] [often passive] (!!!, slang) to have sex with sb: He went out hoping to get laid that night.
11 [VN] to prepare a fire by arranging wood, sticks or coal
12 to bet money on sth; to place a bet: [VN] to lay a bet + She had laid $100 on the favourite. + I think he'll come, but I wouldn't lay money on it. + [VNN, VN (that)] [no passive] I'll lay you any money you like (that) he won't come.
Idioms: Idioms containing lay are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example lay sth bare is at bare.
Phrasal Verbs: lay about sb (with sth) (BrE) to attack sb violently: The gang laid about him with sticks.
lay about you / yourself (with sth) (BrE) to hit sb/sth without control or move your arms or legs violently in all directions: She laid about herself with her stick to keep the dogs off.
lay sth<->aside (formal)
1 to put sth on one side and not use it or think about it: He laid aside his book and stood up. + (figurative) Doctors have to lay their personal feelings aside.
2 (also lay sth by) to keep sth to use, or deal with later: They had laid money aside for their old age.
lay sth<->down to put sth down or stop using it: She laid the book down on the table. + Both sides were urged to lay down their arms (= stop fighting).
lay sth down
1 (formal) to stop doing a job, etc: to lay down your office / duties
2 if you lay down a rule or a principle, you state officially that people must obey it or use it: You can't lay down hard and fast rules. + [+ that] It is laid down that all candidates must submit three copies of their dissertation.
3 [usually passive] to produce sth that is stored and gradually increases: If you eat too much, the surplus is laid down as fat.
lay sth<->in / up to collect and store sth to use in the future: to lay in food supplies
lay into sb/sth (informal) to attack sb violently with blows or words: His parents really laid into him for wasting so much money.
lay off sb/sth (informal, spoken) used to tell sb to stop doing sth: Lay off me will you-it's nothing to do with me. + [+ -ing] Lay off bullying Jack.
lay off sth (informal) to stop using sth: I think you'd better lay off fatty foods for a while.
lay sb<->off to stop employing sb because there is not enough work for them to do
Synonym: MAKE SB REDUNDANT
200 workers at the factory have been laid off.
related noun LAY-OFF
lay sth<->on (BrE, informal) to provide sth for sb, especially food or entertainment: to lay on food and drink + A bus has been laid on to take guests to the airport.
lay sth on sb to make sb have to deal with sth unpleasant or difficult: Stop laying a guilt trip on me (= making me feel guilty).
1 to knock sb unconscious
2 to prepare a dead body to be buried
1 to spread sth out so that it can be seen easily or is ready to use: He laid the map out on the table. + [+ADJ] Lay the material out flat.
2 [often passive] to plan how sth should look and arrange it in this way: The gardens were laid out with lawns, flower beds and fountains. + a well laid out magazine
related noun LAYOUT
3 to present a plan, an argument, etc. clearly and carefully
Synonym: SET OUT
All the terms and conditions are laid out in the contract.
4 (informal) to spend money: I had to lay out a fortune on a new car.
related noun OUTLAY
lay over (at / in ...) (AmE) to stay somewhere for a short time during a long journey
related noun LAYOVER
See also - STOP OVER
lay sb up [usually passive] if sb is laid up, they are unable to work, etc. because of an illness or injury: She's laid up with a broken leg.
lay sth - up
1 = LAY STH IN
2 if you lay up problems or trouble for yourself, you do sth that will cause you problems later
3 to stop using a ship or other vehicle while it is being repaired
+ adjective [only before noun]
1 not having expert knowledge or professional qualifications in a particular subject: His book explains the theory for the lay public.
2 not in an official position in the Church: a lay preacher
See also - LAYMAN, LAYWOMAN, LAYPERSON
1 (!!!, slang) a partner in sex, especially a woman: an easy lay (= a person who is ready and willing to have sex) + to be a great lay
2 (old use) a poem that was written to be sung, usually telling a story
Idioms: the lay of the land (AmE) = THE LIE OF THE LAND