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lay - definition and synonyms


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verb lay pronunciation in British English /leɪ/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlelaying
past tenselaid
past participlelaid
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  1. 1
    [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.
    1. a.
      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. 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.
  3. 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.
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a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

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