lay1 [ leı ] (past tense and past participle laid [ leıd ] ) verb ***
▸ 1 put down flat/carefully
▸ 2 push egg from body
▸ 3 plan and prepare
▸ 4 lie
▸ 5 prepare table for meal
1. ) transitive lay on/in/across/against to put something or someone down in a careful way, especially so that they are lying flat:
Lay the baby on her back.
He had taken off his coat and laid it across the arm of the chair.
We lay flowers on her grave once a week.
Carmen laid her head against my shoulder and fell asleep.
a ) to put something such as pipes, wires, or a carpet into the correct position in the ground or on the floor, so that they are ready to be used:
The man's coming to lay the hall carpet tomorrow.
A hundred miles of new railroad track have been laid.
2. ) transitive if a female animal such as a bird or fish lays an egg, it produces the egg by pushing it from its body
3. ) transitive to carefully plan and prepare something that will be needed in the future to achieve an aim:
lay the groundwork/foundations: The project is intended to lay the groundwork for future research.
lay a trap (for someone/something) (=prepare for catching someone or something): The burglar realized the police had laid a trap and quickly surrendered.
4. ) intransitive SPOKEN a way of saying lie, meaning to have your body in a flat position, that many people consider incorrect
5. ) transitive MAINLY BRITISH if you lay the table or lay a place at a table, you prepare a table for a meal by putting forks, knives, spoons, dishes, etc. on it. American usually set
get laid IMPOLITE
to have sex
lay something at someone's door
to say that someone is responsible for something bad that has happened:
Congressman Bain lays the cover up at the door of the armed forces.
lay something bare
to make something known that has been hidden or secret:
All the facts of the investigation are finally being laid bare.
lay the blame/responsibility (for something) on
to say that someone or something deserves to be considered responsible for something that has happened:
Don't try to lay the blame for this on me.
lay charges BRITISH
to BRING CHARGES against someone
lay claim to something
to state that something belongs to you:
Both countries lay claim to the territory.
lay emphasis/stress on something
to emphasize the importance of something:
Special stress was laid on the need to coordinate policies toward Eastern Europe.
lay someone/something flat
to knock someone or something down
lay someone low usually passive
to make someone sick or weak and unable to do the things they usually do:
He was laid low for two weeks with a virus.
lay someone open to something
to do something that provides a good reason for criticizing, blaming, or attacking you:
Shelly knew that any sign of weakness would lay her open to further attack.
lay siege to something
to surround a place in order to force the people inside to come out
lay someone to rest
to bury someone's body in a ceremony after they have died
lay something waste/lay waste to something
to cause very serious damage to a place, especially in a war
not lay a finger on someone
to not hit or harm someone in any way:
He swears he never laid a finger on the child.
=> REST1
,lay a`side phrasal verb transitive
1. ) lay aside or lay by to keep or save something, especially money, so that you can use it in the future:
For years my mother laid aside a small amount from every paycheck.
2. ) to put something down and to one side because you are finished with it or want to save it until another time:
What do you want? he said, laying aside his book.
3. ) to not let yourself think about or be influenced by something so that you can achieve an aim:
They agreed to lay aside their differences for the good of their families.
`lay be,fore phrasal verb transitive
lay something before someone to offer something to someone to study, discuss, approve, etc.:
I have some more research to do before I'm ready to lay the case before the committee.
,lay `by phrasal verb transitive
same as LAY ASIDE 1
,lay `down phrasal verb
1. ) transitive to put something down to show you are finished with it, for example a weapon or tool:
Please stop writing and lay down your pencils.
2. ) transitive to state officially what someone must do or how they must do it:
The Natural Resources Department has laid down tough standards for water quality.
3. ) intransitive SPOKEN a way of saying lie down that many people consider incorrect
lay down the law
to tell someone what to do or how to behave in a way that shows that you expect them to obey you completely:
With kids like that you have to lay down the law and let them see you're serious.
lay down your life (for) FORMAL
to die in order to help or save someone or something
,lay `in or ,lay `up phrasal verb transitive OLD-FASHIONED
to get and keep a supply of something such as food to use in the future
,lay `into phrasal verb transitive INFORMAL
lay into someone to attack someone physically or criticize them angrily:
My parents really laid into him for being late.
,lay `off phrasal verb
1. ) transitive to end someone's employment, especially temporarily, because there is not enough work for them:
They've had to cut back production and lay off workers.
2. ) intransitive or transitive usually in imperative lay off someone/something INFORMAL to stop doing something that is annoying someone:
Lay off! I'm trying to study.
lay off doing something: Just lay off complaining for a minute!
3. ) intransitive or transitive lay off something INFORMAL to stop doing or using something, especially for a short period of time:
I had to lay off the medication for a while to see if that was causing my headaches.
,lay `on phrasal verb transitive
1. ) lay something on someone INFORMAL to tell or show something to someone, especially when you do not expect them to like it:
Okay, I'm ready for the bad news, lay it on me.
2. ) BRITISH to provide something such as food, entertainment, or a service, especially without charging for it
lay it on thick INFORMAL
to make something such as your admiration for someone or their achievements seem greater or more important than it really is in order to impress someone
,lay `out phrasal verb
1. ) transitive to spread something out or arrange things so you can see them easily:
I have my dress all ready and laid out on the bed.
A display of local history material was laid out on the table.
2. ) transitive INFORMAL to spend an amount of money:
lay out something for something: They had already laid out a substantial amount for the wedding.
3. ) transitive to arrange something according to a detailed plan, for example rooms in a building, roads in a town, or areas on a piece of land:
The city was laid out with the capitol on a hill in its center.
The brochure is beautifully laid out and illustrated.
4. ) transitive to explain something carefully and clearly:
The documents lay out the principles clearly enough.
5. ) transitive to prepare a dead body so that people can come to see it before it is buried
6. ) transitive INFORMAL to hit someone so hard that they fall to the ground and become unconscious:
Joe laid Ken out with one punch.
7. ) intransitive AMERICAN INFORMAL to lie outside in the sun, so that you get a TAN. This use is considered incorrect by many people.
,lay `over phrasal verb intransitive AMERICAN
to stop somewhere for a short time during a long trip, especially between airplane flights:
lay over at/in: We laid over for 8 hours in Anchorage.
,lay `to phrasal verb intransitive or transitive TECHNICAL
lay something to if you lay a ship to or it lays to, it stops
,lay `up phrasal verb transitive
1. ) usually passive to make someone stay in bed as a result of being sick or injured:
be laid up (in bed) with something: He's still laid up with a bad back.
2. ) to not use a vehicle or ship for a period of time, especially because it needs to be repaired
3. ) same as LAY IN
lay 2 [ leı ] adjective only before noun
1. ) not educated or trained to a high or professional standard in a particular subject:
a book intended for a lay audience
2. ) belonging to a Christian church but not officially employed by it as a priest, MINISTER, etc.:
a lay preacher
lay 3 [ leı ] noun count
1. ) OFFENSIVE someone considered as a particular type of sexual partner:
be a great/good/easy lay
2. ) LITERARY a poem or song
the lay of the land AMERICAN
1. ) the way a piece of land looks, especially what hills, valleys, rivers, etc. it contains
2. ) the way a situation seems at a particular time. British the lie of the land:
I'd better find out the lay of the land in case I say something that might upset him.
lay 4
the past tense of lie1

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.

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