Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “lay”

lay

verb  /leɪ/ (past tense and past participle laid  /leɪd/) us  

lay verb (PUT DOWN)

[T] to put something down, esp. into a flat or horizontal position: He laid his coat on a chair. She laid the baby (down) in her crib. [T] To lay is also to put down in a careful or systematic way for a particular purpose: We’re having a new carpet laid in the hall next week.

lay verb (PREPARE)

[T] to prepare something: The initial negotiations laid the groundwork for more detailed talks later on.

lay verb (PRODUCE EGGS)

[I/T] (of an animal or bird) to produce eggs from out of its body

lay verb (RISK)

[T] to risk something on the result of an event: I’ll lay odds (= risk money) that she won’t show up.

lay verb (EXPRESS)

[T] to put or express: He laid emphasis on the fact that he had never been found guilty of a crime. She’s trying to lay the blame on someone else (= blame someone else).

lay

adjective [not gradable]  /leɪ/ us  

lay adjective [not gradable] (NOT TRAINED)

not trained in or not having a detailed knowledge of a particular subject: To a lay audience, the mathematics would be difficult.

lay

 /leɪ/ us  

lay (LIE)

past simple of lie
(Definition of lay from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of lay?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Neglecting and ignoring, but you might be interested in these topics from the Attention and care topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “lay” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

shadow

an area of darkness, caused by light being blocked by something

Word of the Day

Highly delighted, bitterly disappointed, ridiculously cheap: adverbs for emphasis.

by Liz Walter,
October 22, 2014
We often make adjectives stronger by putting an adverb in front of them. The most common ones are very and, for a stronger meaning, extremely: He was very pleased. The ship is extremely large. However, we don’t use very or extremely for adjectives that already have a strong meaning, for example fantastic,

Read More 

life tracking noun

October 20, 2014
the use of one or more devices or apps to monitor health, exercise, how time is spent, etc.

Read More