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lay off

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phrasal verb
Word Forms
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present tense
I/you/we/theylay off
he/she/itlays off
present participlelaying off
past tenselaid off
past participlelaid off
  1. 1
    [transitive] to end someone's employment, especially temporarily, because there is not enough work for them

    They've had to cut back production and lay off workers.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] [usually in imperative] lay off someone/something informal to stop doing something that is annoying someone

    Lay off! I'm trying to study.

    lay off doing something:

    Just lay off complaining for a minute!

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] lay off something informal to stop doing or using something, especially for a short period of time

    I had to lay off the medication for a while to see if that was causing my headaches.

See also main entry: lay

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used with other nouns to describe the unexpected and often unwanted effects of a particular situation or trend

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