Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


I had laid open the deepest in me to her honest gaze, and she had read it, and could not but know me.

In less than a minute they had laid open a gap: and with that the mystery was clear.

He had laid open his mole-run for a yard or so, and was still grubbing at it absorbedly.

I dragged him on the beach; with my knife I laid open his entrails.

He had just laid open the book when Roy rushed in from the wireless room.

To such a veritable 'Thomas' in petticoats every road should be laid open.

Our public wounds cannot be concealed; to be cured, they must be laid open.

It looked as if Nate's skull would be laid open with the billet of wood.

Why do they complain, that the West Indies are not laid open?

As with a merciless scalpel the inner heart of the man is laid open.


Old English lecgan "to place on the ground (or other surface)," also "put down (often by striking)," from Proto-Germanic *lagjanan (cf. Old Saxon leggian, Old Norse leggja, Old Frisian ledza, Middle Dutch legghan, Dutch leggen, Old High German lecken, German legen, Gothic lagjan "to lay, put, place"), causative of lie (v.2). As a noun, from 1550s, "act of laying." Meaning "way in which something is laid" (e.g. lay of the land) first recorded 1819.

Meaning "have sex with" first recorded 1934, in U.S. slang, probably from sense of "deposit" (which was in Old English, as in lay an egg, lay a bet, etc.), perhaps reinforced by to lie with, a phrase frequently met in the Bible. The noun meaning "woman available for sexual intercourse" is attested from 1930, but there are suggestions of it in stage puns from as far back as 1767. To lay for (someone) "await a chance at revenge" is from late 15c.; lay low "stay inconspicuous" is from 1839. To lay (someone) low preserves the secondary Old English sense.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.