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 [T]
 
 
/leɪ/ (laid, laid)
to put something onto a surface or under the ground in a horizontal position: lay a pipe/cable Workmen were digging up the street to lay cables. They prepared the ground, then laid concrete.
to prepare for doing something or to make it possible for something to happen in the future: lay the basis/foundation/groundwork for sth Perhaps more than anyone, he laid the groundwork for today's digital revolution.
to bet (= risk) something on the result of an event: lay odds/a wager I'll lay odds that she won't take the job.
lay blame (on sb/sth) to say that someone or something is responsible for something bad that happened: You can't lay blame on the government for all your troubles. When projects go wrong, everyone looks for somewhere to lay the blame.
lay claim to sth to say that you own something or have a right to it: Through a series of buyouts, we laid claim to the best intellectual property of our time.
lay an egg informal US to make something that does not work well or that fails: They laid an egg by putting last decade's technology in that phone.
(Definition of lay verb from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © 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

luck out

to be very lucky

Word of the Day

Think long and hard; the language of decisions

by Liz Walter,
January 28, 2015
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’). This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More