Lay - definition, pronunciation, transcription

Amer.  |leɪ|  American pronunciation of the word lay
Brit.  |leɪ|  British pronunciation of the word lay
irregular verb:  p.t. — laid  p.p. — laid
- this word is a past tense form of the irregular verbto lie


- a narrative song with a recurrent refrain (syn: ballad)
- a narrative poem of popular origin (syn: ballad)


- put into a certain place or abstract location (syn: place, pose, position, put, set)
- put in a horizontal position (syn: put down, repose)
lay the books on the table
lay the patient carefully onto the bed
- prepare or position for action or operation
lay a fire
lay the foundation for a new health care plan
- lay eggs
This hen doesn't lay
- impose as a duty, burden, or punishment
lay a responsibility on someone


- characteristic of those who are not members of the clergy (syn: laic, secular)
the lay ministry
- not of or from a profession
a lay opinion as to the cause of the disease

Extra examples

Lay the fabric carefully on the table.

When will they lay the foundation for the addition?

The patient's lay diagnosis was close to the doctor's.

Lay the packages on the table.

Lay the wounded soldier down carefully so as not to hurt him.

Lay the cartons one on top of the other.

It's a mistake to lay too much emphasis on grades.

For a year or two he wrote poetry. But then he gave up that lay.

Lay the material flat on the table.

The flies lay their eggs on decaying meat.

A cuckoo is able to lay in a range of different nests.

I'd lay money that he will go on to play for England.

I'll lay money that they'll say yes.

This hen doesn't lay

Phrasal verbs

lay aside  — accumulate money for future use
lay down  — institute, enact, or establish
lay in  — keep or lay aside for future use
lay off  — put an end to a state or an activity
lay out  — lay out orderly or logically in a line or as if in a line
lay over  — interrupt a journey temporarily, e.g., overnight
lay up  — disable or confine, as with an illness

Word forms

I/you/we/they: lay
he/she/it: lays
present participle: laying
past tense: laid
past participle: laid
singular: lay
plural: lays
See also:  WebsterWiktionaryLongman