Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

lay about - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb [transitive] British old-fashioned
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theylay about
he/she/itlays about
present participlelaying about
past tenselaid about
past participlelaid about

Related words

  1. lay about someone to attack someone by hitting them
    lay about someone with something:

    He said that his captors had laid about him with whips.

See also main entry: lay


to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play