lay

To lay is to set something down or put it in a horizontal position. It can also mean to position or prepare something for action, or, simply, to lay eggs.

The word lay can mean a lot of different things, but one of its most common uses is as the adjective component of layperson, which refers to someone who's not a member of the clergy, or who's not a member of a particular profession and so cannot always understand that profession's technical jargon. This is why we sometimes request things to be communicated in "lay language," meaning simple, everyday terms that a layperson can understand.

Primary Meanings of lay

1.
v
put into a certain place or abstract location
2.
v
lay eggs
3.
adj
not of or from a profession
4.
n
a narrative song with a recurrent refrain
Full Definitions of lay
1

v put into a certain place or abstract location

Synonyms:
place, pose, position, put, set
Types:
show 158 types...
hide 158 types...
enclose, inclose, insert, introduce, put in, stick in
introduce
docket
place on the docket for legal action
cock
set the trigger of a firearm back for firing
postpose
place after another constituent in the sentence
prepose
place before another constituent in the sentence
step
place (a ship's mast) in its step
put back, replace
put something back where it belongs
stratify
form, arrange, or deposit in layers
plant
place something or someone in a certain position in order to secretly observe or deceive
intersperse
place at intervals in or among
nestle, snuggle
position comfortably
pile
place or lay as if in a pile
arrange, set up
put into a proper or systematic order
lay over, superimpose, superpose
place on top of
superpose
place (one geometric figure) upon another so that their perimeters coincide
park
place temporarily
ensconce, settle
fix firmly
dispose
place or put in a particular order
emplace
put into place or position
emplace
provide a new emplacement for guns
ship
place on board a ship
underlay
put (something) under or beneath
trench
set, plant, or bury in a trench
pigeonhole
place into a small compartment
shelve
place on a shelf
jar
place in a cylindrical vessel
repose
to put something (eg trust) in something
sign
place signs, as along a road
middle
put in the middle
parallelize
place parallel to one another
butt
place end to end without overlapping
recess
put into a recess
reposition
place into another position
throw, thrust
place or put with great energy
tee, tee up
place on a tee
rack up
place in a rack
coffin
place into a coffin
bed
put to bed
appose
place side by side or in close proximity
place down, put down, set down
cause to sit or seat or be in a settled position or place
seed, sow
place (seeds) in or on the ground for future growth
misplace
place or position wrongly; put in the wrong position
juxtapose
place side by side
set down
put or settle into a position
bottle
put into bottles
bucket
put into a bucket
barrel
put in barrels
ground
place or put on the ground
pillow, rest
rest on or as if on a pillow
lose, mislay, misplace
place (something) where one cannot find it again
upend
set, turn, or stand on end
seat, sit, sit down
show to a seat; assign a seat for
seat
place in or on a seat
put down, repose
put in a horizontal position
place upright, stand, stand up
put into an upright position
recline
cause to recline
plant, set
put or set (seeds, seedlings, or plants) into the ground
instal, install, put in, set up
set up for use
deposit, fix, posit, situate
put (something somewhere) firmly
ladle
put (a liquid) into a container by means of a ladle
poise
cause to be balanced or suspended
lean
cause to lean or incline
clap
put quickly or forcibly
rest
put something in a resting position, as for support or steadying
perch
cause to perch or sit
load
put (something) on a structure or conveyance
cram
put something somewhere so that the space is completely filled
set
put into a position that will restore a normal state
siphon
move a liquid from one container into another by means of a siphon or a siphoning action
seat
place or attach firmly in or on a base
position
cause to be in an appropriate place, state, or relation
glycerolise, glycerolize
place in glycerol
space
place at intervals
marshal
place in proper rank
settle, settle down
settle into a position, usually on a surface or ground
throw
to put into a state or activity hastily, suddenly, or carelessly
imbricate
place so as to overlap
plug
insert as a plug
plug
insert a plug into
inoculate
introduce a microorganism into
inset
set or place in
glass
put in a glass container
catheterise, catheterize
insert a catheter into (a body part)
cup
put into a cup
interlard, intersperse
introduce one's writing or speech with certain expressions
feed, feed in
introduce continuously
slip
insert inconspicuously or quickly or quietly
foist
insert surreptitiously or without warrant
regularise, regularize
make regular or more regular
order
place in a certain order
order
bring order to or into
straighten
make straight or straighter
rearrange
put into a new order or arrangement
serialise, serialize
arrange serially
alphabetise, alphabetize
arrange in alphabetical order
coordinate, organise, organize
bring order and organization to
interstratify
arrange rocks in alternating strata
stratify
form layers or strata
deploy
place troops or weapons in battle formation
aim, direct, take, take aim, train
point or cause to go (blows, weapons, or objects such as photographic equipment) towards
bury
place in the earth and cover with soil
hang up
put a telephone receiver back in its cradle
draw, string, thread
thread on or as if on a string
marshal
arrange in logical order
string
stretch out or arrange like a string
spread out, string out
set out or stretch in a line, succession, or series
interleave
intersperse the sectors on the concentric magnetic circular patterns written on a computer disk surface to guide the storing and recording of data
plume, preen
clean with one's bill
stack
arrange the order of so as to increase one's winning chances
chain
connect or arrange into a chain by linking
geminate, pair
arrange in pairs
concord
arrange the words of a text so as to create a concordance
cascade
arrange (open windows) on a computer desktop so that they overlap each other, with the title bars visible
settle
arrange or fix in the desired order
pyramid
arrange or build up as if on the base of a pyramid
corral
arrange wagons so that they form a corral
catenate, catenulate
arrange in a series of rings or chains, as for spores
decorate, dress
provide with decoration
develop
superimpose a three-dimensional surface on a plane without stretching, in geometry
array, lay out, range, set out
lay out orderly or logically in a line or as if in a line
bundle, compact, pack, wad
compress into a wad
reship
place on a ship again or transfer to another ship
reduce
reposition (a broken bone after surgery) back to its normal site
pop
put or thrust suddenly and forcefully
flump, plank, plonk, plop, plump, plump down, plunk, plunk down
set (something or oneself) down with or as if with a noise
broadcast
sow over a wide area, especially by hand
inseminate, sow, sow in
place seeds in or on (the ground)
scatter
sow by scattering
rail
lay with rails
heap, pile, stack
arrange in stacks
distribute, stagger
to arrange in a systematic order
stuff
cram into a cavity
root
plant by the roots
puddle
dip into mud before planting
checkrow
plant in checkrows
drape
arrange in a particular way
drape
place casually
reseat
show to a different seat
blow
lay eggs
bed
place (plants) in a prepared bed of soil
dibble
plant with a wooden hand tool
afforest, forest
establish a forest on previously unforested land
replant
plant again or anew
retrofit
fit in or on an existing structure, such as an older house
reinstall
install again
post, put up
place so as to be noticed
inject, shoot
force or drive (a fluid or gas) into by piercing
set
fix in a border
gradate
arrange according to grades
tree
plant with trees
square
position so as to be square
sediment
settle as sediment
sediment
deposit as a sediment
dress, line up
arrange in ranks
bury, entomb, inhume, inter, lay to rest
place in a grave or tomb
rebury
bury again
line up
form a line
orient
cause to point
Type of:
displace, move
cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense

v put in a horizontal position

lay the books on the table”
lay the patient carefully onto the bed”
Synonyms:
put down, repose
Types:
show 5 types...
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rail
lay with rails
blow
lay eggs
bury, entomb, inhume, inter, lay to rest
place in a grave or tomb
rebury
bury again
spawn
lay spawn
Type of:
place, pose, position, put, set
put into a certain place or abstract location

v prepare or position for action or operation

lay a fire”
lay the foundation for a new health care plan”
Type of:
devise, get up, machinate, organise, organize, prepare
arrange by systematic planning and united effort

v impose as a duty, burden, or punishment

lay a responsibility on someone”
Type of:
impose, levy
impose and collect
2

v lay eggs

“This hen doesn't lay
Types:
spawn
lay spawn
spat
spawn
Type of:
put down, repose
put in a horizontal position
3

adj not of or from a profession

“a lay opinion as to the cause of the disease”
Synonyms:
nonprofessional
not professional; not engaged in a profession or engaging in as a profession or for gain

adj characteristic of those who are not members of the clergy

“the lay ministry”
Synonyms:
laic, secular
profane, secular
not concerned with or devoted to religion
4

n a narrative song with a recurrent refrain

Synonyms:
ballad
Types:
minstrelsy
ballads sung by minstrels
Type of:
song, vocal
a short musical composition with words

n a narrative poem of popular origin

Synonyms:
ballad
Types:
Edda
either of two distinct works in Old Icelandic dating from the late 13th century and consisting of 34 mythological and heroic ballads composed between 800 and 1200; the primary source for Scandinavian mythology
Type of:
poem, verse form
a composition written in metrical feet forming rhythmical lines

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