Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “lay”

See all translations

lay

verb uk   /leɪ/ (laid) us  

lay verb (PUT DOWN)

C1 [T usually + adv/prep] to put something in especially a flat or horizontal position, usually carefully or for a particular purpose: She laid the baby on the bed. He laid the tray down on the table. She laid aside her book and went to answer the phone. We're having a new carpet laid in the hall next week. The plan is to lay (= build) the foundations for the new apartments in October. [T] to prepare a plan or a method of doing something: Even the best laid plans go wrong sometimes.
More examples

lay verb (LIE)

past simple of lie verb

lay verb (PRODUCE EGGS)

B2 [I or T] (of an animal or bird) to produce eggs from out of the body: Thousands of turtles drag themselves onto the beach and lay their eggs in the sand.

lay verb (HAVE SEX)

[T] slang to have sex with someone: So did you get laid (= find someone to have sex with)?

lay verb (RISK MONEY)

[T] to risk something, usually money, on the result of an event: She won't get the job - I'd lay money on it!

lay verb (EXPRESS)

[T] to express a claim, legal statement, etc. in a serious or official way: She can't accept she made a mistake and now she's trying to lay the blame on (= accuse) her assistant. Do you understand the seriousness of the charge (= legal accusation) that has been laid against you?lay claim to sth to say that you own something: Two companies have laid claim to the design.

lay

adjective [before noun] uk   /leɪ/ us  

lay adjective [before noun] (NOT TRAINED)

not trained in or not having a detailed knowledge of a particular subject: From a lay viewpoint the questionnaire is virtually incomprehensible.
See also

lay adjective [before noun] (CHURCH)

having a position in a religious organization that is not a full-time job and is not paid: a lay preacher
See also

lay

noun [C] uk   /leɪ/ slang us  
used to describe how good someone is at sex, or how often they have sex: She's a good lay (= sex with her is enjoyable). She got a reputation as an easy lay (= she was thought to have slept with a lot of people).
(Definition of lay from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of lay?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “lay” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

past participle

the form of a verb, usually made by adding -ed, used in some grammatical structures such as the passive and the present perfect

Word of the Day

Euphemisms (Words used to Avoid Offending People)

by Kate Woodford,
March 04, 2015
​​​ We recently looked at the language that we use to describe lies and lying. One area of lying that we considered was ‘being slightly dishonest, or not speaking the complete truth’. One reason for not speaking the complete truth is to avoid saying something that might upset or offend people. Words and

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More