Synonyms of lay in English:

Share this entry

lay 1


  • 1 Curtis laid the newspaper on the table
    put, place, set, put down, set down, deposit, rest, situate, locate, position
    informalstick, dump, park, plunk
  • 2 the act laid the foundation for the new system
    set in place, put in place, set out;
    set up, establish
  • 3 I'll lay money that Michelle will be there
    bet, wager, gamble, stake, risk, hazard, venture;
    (lay money)give odds, speculate
  • 4 they are going to lay charges
    bring, press, bring forward, lodge, register, place, file
  • 5 she laid the blame on Maxwell
    assign to, attribute to, ascribe to, allot to, attach to;
    (lay the blame on)hold someone accountable, hold someone responsible, find guilty
  • 6 we laid out plans for the next voyage
    devise, arrange, make, make ready, prepare, work out, hatch, design, plan, scheme, plot, conceive, put together, draw up, produce, develop, concoct, formulate, cook up
  • 7 this will lay responsibility on the court
    impose, apply, entrust, vest, place, put;
    inflict, encumber, saddle, charge, burden
  • 8 we laid the trap and waited
    set, prepare, devise, bait
  • Usage

    lay, lie

    The verb lay means, broadly, 'put something down': they are going to lay the carpet. The past tense and the past participle of lay is laid: they laid the groundwork; she had laid careful plans. The verb lie, on the other hand, means 'assume a horizontal or resting position': why don't you lie on the floor? The past tense of lie is lay: he lay on the floor earlier in the day. The past participle of lie is lain: she had lain on the bed for hours. In practice, many speakers inadvertently get the lay forms and the lie forms into a tangle of right and wrong usage. Here are some examples of typical incorrect usage: have you been laying on the sofa all day? (should be lying); he lay the books on the table (should be laid); I had laid in this position so long, my arm was stiff (should be lain). See also lie2


    lay something aside

  • 1.1 farmers laying aside areas for conservation
    put aside, put to one side, keep, save
  • 2.1 developers must lay aside their conservatism
    abandon, cast aside, set aside, reject, renounce, repudiate, disregard, forget, discard
  • lay something bare

    his private life has been laid bare
    reveal, disclose, divulge, show, expose, exhibit, uncover, unveil, unmask, make known, make public

    lay something down

  • 1.1 he laid down his glass
    put down, set down, place down, deposit, rest
    informalplunk down
  • 2.1 they were forced to lay down their weapons
    relinquish, surrender, give up, yield, cede
  • 3.1 the ground rules have been laid down
    formulate, stipulate, set down, draw up, frame;
    prescribe, ordain, dictate, decree;
    enact, pass, decide, determine, impose, codify
  • lay down the law

    too many parents have relinquished their right to lay down the law
    be dogmatic, be in charge (of the rules), set the rules, be domineering, be the boss, call the shots

    lay eyes on

    informal something clicked the first time they laid eyes on each other
    see, spot, observe, regard, view, catch sight of, set eyes on
    literarybehold, espy, descry

    lay hands on

    wait till I lay my hands on you!
    catch, lay/get hold of, get one's hands on, seize, grab, grasp, capture

    lay into

  • 1.1 the general's henchmen were encouraged to publicly lay into dissenters See assault (sense 1 of the verb)
  • 2.1 he laid into her with a string of insults See criticize
  • lay it on thick

    informal oh, brother, can he lay it on thick when he wants to impress a girl
    exaggerate, overdo it, embellish the truth;
    flatter, praise, soft-soap, pile it on, sweet-talk

    lay off

  • 1.1 I have to lay off beer
    give up, abstain from, desist from, cut out
  • 2.1 I lay off work at 5
    quit, pack in, leave off, stop
  • 3.1 lay off, you big jerk!
    back off, give it a rest, enough already, shut up, stop it
  • 4.1 three more couriers were laid off today
    dismiss, let go, discharge, give notice to, release
    informalsack, fire, ax, give someone their marching orders, pink-slip, give someone the boot, give someone the (old) heave-ho
  • lay out

  • 1.1 Robyn laid the plans out on the desk
    spread out, set out, display, exhibit
  • 2.1 a paper laying out our priorities
    outline, sketch out, rough out, detail, draw up, formulate, work out, frame, draft
  • 3.1 informal he had to lay out $70 See pay (sense 2 of the verb)
  • lay waste to

    any further testing at this site will lay waste to an irreplaceable ecosystem
    devastate, wipe out, destroy, demolish, annihilate, raze, ruin, wreck, level, flatten, ravage, pillage, sack, despoil

    Definition of lay in:

    Share this entry


    Synonyms of lay in English:

    Share this entry

    lay 2


  • 1 a lay preacher
    nonclerical, nonordained, secular, temporal
  • 2 a lay audience
    nonprofessional, amateur, nonspecialist, nontechnical, untrained, unqualified
  • Definition of lay in:

    Share this entry


    What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

    Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

    Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

    Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources