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


But of course it will be only fair to sis to lay the matter before her just as it is.

Robert pointed in silence to the huge rock which lay on the track.

“Lay platters for me and these two young gentlemen,” said the Augustinian.

They talked until late into the night of what he should "lay out" to do.

You know what you hold, and if 'tain't a hand to lay down, it must be a hand to raise on.

For an hour he watched her, feeling the arm on which she lay growing numb.

With parched throats, gasping for breath, they lay back in agony.

So he lay down in the coffin but no sooner was he inside when bang!

An' he said, 'Lay right down on dis yer table,' an' I lay down.

At first the solid blackness seemed to lay a weight on their foreheads.


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.