lay
Pronunciation Verb

lay (lays, present participle laying; 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), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Daniel 6:17 ↗:
      A stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den.
    • 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
  3. (transitive) To prepare (a plan, project etc.); to set out, establish (a law, principle).
  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: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene i]:
      I dare lay mine honour / He will remain so.
  8. (transitive, slang) To have sex with.
    Synonyms: lie by, lie with, sleep with, Thesaurus:copulate with
  9. (nautical) To take a position; to come or go.
    to lay forward;  to lay aloft
  10. (legal) To state; to allege.
    to lay the venue
  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.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Proverbs 31:19 ↗:
      She layeth her hands to the spindle.
  16. To impose (a burden, punishment, command, tax, etc.).
    to lay a tax on land
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Isaiah 53:6 ↗:
      The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
  17. To impute; to charge; to allege.
    Synonyms: ascribe, attribute
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Job 24:12 ↗:
      God layeth not folly to them.
    • c. 1608–1609, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene iii]:
      Lay the fault on us.
  18. To present or offer.
    to lay an indictment in a particular county;   to lay a scheme before one
Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: держа́ть пари́
Translations Noun

lay

  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 9780778315254, 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 1551666251, 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 9781451620924, 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 9781453286074, 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 9780758227188, 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 9780373861996, 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 plan; a scheme.
  8. (uncountable) 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,
      […] 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,
      […] 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,
      […] 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 (author), The Life of John Buncle, Esq., London: J. Johnson and B. Davenport, Volume 2, Section 1, p. 16, footnote 1,
      […] 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 […]
Synonyms Translations
  • Russian: скру́тка
Translations
  • Russian: полово́й партнёр
Noun

lay (plural lays)

  1. A lake#Etymology_1|lake.
Adjective

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.
  3. (obsolete) Not educated or cultivated; ignorant.
Related terms

Translations Translations Translations Verb
  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.
    • a. 1970, Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel, “The Boxer”, Bridge over Troubled Water, Columbia Records:
      Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters / Where the ragged people go
    • 1974, John Denver, “Annie’s Song”, Back Home Again, RCA:
      Let me lay down beside you. / Let me always be with you.
Noun

lay (plural lays)

  1. A ballad or sung poem; a short poem or narrative, usually intended to be sung.
    • 1742, Edward Young, The Complaint: or Night-Thoughts on Life, Death & Immortality, Night I
      I strive, with wakeful melody, to cheer
      The sullen gloom, sweet Philomel! like thee,
      And call the stars to listen: every star
      Is deaf to mine, enamour’d of thy lay.
    • 1805 The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Sir Walter Scott.
Translations
  • Russian: лэ
Noun

lay (plural lays)

  1. (obsolete) A meadow; a lea.
Noun

lay (plural lays)

  1. (obsolete) A law.
    • many goodly lays
  2. (obsolete) An obligation; a vow.
    • They bound themselves by a sacred lay and oath.
Verb

lay (lays, present participle laying; past and past participle laid)

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

Lay
Proper noun
  1. A river in western France.
  2. Surname



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