I UK [leɪ] / US verb
Word forms "lay":
present tense I/you/we/they lay he/she/it lays present participle laying past tense laid UK [leɪd] / US past participle laid

Lay means to put something in a particular place or position: I always lay my clothes carefully on the chair when I undress. He laid the book on the desk.
Lie means to be in a particular place or position: I found the cat lying in front of the fire. He loves to lie on the beach all day. Papers were lying all over the desk.
Lay is also the past form of the verb lie: The book lay on the floor where I'd left it.
a) [transitive] to put someone or something down in a careful way, especially so that they are lying flat
lay someone/something on something:

Lay the baby on her back.

lay someone/something across something:

He laid his coat across the arm of the chair.

We lay flowers on her grave once a week.

Carmen laid her head against my shoulder and fell asleep.

b) to put something such as pipes, wires, or a carpet into the correct position in the ground or on the floor, so that they are ready to be used

The man's coming to lay the hall carpet tomorrow.

A hundred miles of new railway track have been laid.

2) [transitive] if a female animal such as a bird or fish lays an egg, it produces the egg by pushing it from its body
3) [transitive] if you lay the table or lay a place at a table, you prepare a table for a meal by putting forks, knives, spoons, dishes etc on it. The usual American word is set

Will you lay the table while I get breakfast?

lay a place (for someone):

Don't bother laying a place for me – I'm going out to dinner.

4) [transitive] to carefully plan and prepare something that will be needed in the future to achieve an aim
lay the groundwork/foundations:

The project is intended to lay the groundwork for future research.

lay a trap (for someone/something) (= prepare for catching someone or something):

The gunman realized the police had laid a trap and quickly surrendered.

5) [intransitive] spoken a way of saying "lie", meaning to have your body in a flat position, that many people think is incorrect

lay the blame/responsibility (for something) on — to say that someone or something deserves to be considered responsible for something that has happened

Don't try to lay the blame for this on me.

I'd lay money/odds/a bet on somethingBritish used for saying that you are very confident that something will happen

I'd lay money on New Zealand to win the race.

lay money/odds (that):

I'll lay odds she doesn't come.

lay emphasis/stress on something — to emphasize the importance of something

a society that lays emphasis on youth

Special stress was laid on the need to coordinate policies towards Eastern Europe.

lay someone/something flat — to knock someone or something down

lay something waste/lay waste to something — to cause very serious damage to a place, especially in a war

Phrasal verbs:
life, rest I

II UK [leɪ] / US adjective [only before noun]
1) not educated or trained to a high or professional standard in a particular subject
2) belonging to a Christian church but not officially employed by it as a priest, minister etc

a lay preacher

III UK [leɪ] / US noun [countable]
Word forms "lay":
singular lay plural lays
1) offensive someone considered as a particular type of sexual partner

be a great/good/easy lay

2) literary a poem or song

IV UK [leɪ] / US
the past tense of lie I

English dictionary. 2014.

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