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Related to lay off: Laid Off
lay someone off (from something)
to put an end to someone's employment at something. The automobile factory laid five hundred people off from work. They laid off a lot of people. We knew they were going to lay a lot of people off.
lay off (someone or something)
to leave someone or something alone. Lay off the booze for a while, why don't ya? Lay off me! I didn't do anything!
((of) someone or something) to stop doing something to someone or something; to stop bothering someone or something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) Lay off of me! You've said enough. Please lay off the chicken. I cooked it as best I could.
1. Terminate a person from employment. For example, When they lost the contract, they had to lay off a hundred workers. This expression formerly referred to temporary dismissals, as during a recession, with the idea that workers would be hired back when conditions improved, but with the tendency of businesses to downsize in the 1990s it came to mean "terminate permanently." [First half of 1800s]
2. Mark off the boundaries, as in Let's lay off an area for a flower garden. [Mid-1700s]
3. Stop doing something, quit, as in Lay off that noise for a minute, so the baby can get to sleep, or She resolved to lay off smoking. [Early 1900s]
4. Stop bothering or annoying someone, as in Lay off or I'll tell the teacher. [Slang; c. 1900]
5. Place all or part of a bet with another bookmaker so as to reduce the risk. For example, Some bookmakers protect themselves by laying off very large bets with other bookmakers. [Mid-1900s]
1. To terminate someone's employment, especially temporarily; suspend someone from work: The company had to lay off two dozen workers or it would have gone bankrupt. They had to lay the clerk off for stealing mail.
2. To mark the boundaries of some region and reserve that region; mark something off: We laid off the front part of the yard for a garden and left the back for a lawn. We used lime to lay the field off for the game.
3. To stop using or doing something: I'm going to have to lay off the cigarettes; they're making me sick.
4. Slang To stop bothering someone. Used chiefly as an angry command: Look, I'm trying to work, so just lay off me, okay?