lay by

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lay (something) by

1. To position something next to something else. I laid the note by his computer so that he would be sure to see it. Thanks, Bill, you can lay those by the front door.
2. To save, preserve, or reserve something for future use. You should always lay a chunk of money by in case you ever run into trouble down the line. A: "There's way too much food." B: "Well, let's lay some by, and we can have it for dinner this weekend."
See also: by, lay

lay by

To save or reserve something, especially money, for future use. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "by." If you can even lay by $100 a month, it will go a long way toward paying off the loan. Don't throw away all that scrap metal—we can lay it by for our next project.
See also: by, lay

lie by

1. verb, dated To rest; to not move or put forth physical effort. Primarily heard in UK. Your body needs time to recover from this illness, so for now you should just lie by.
2. verb, dated To not be acted upon; to be left undisturbed. Primarily heard in UK. I think we should let the issue lie by awhile before making any further decisions.
3. noun A section of paved road adjacent to a highway in which cars can stop, as in emergencies. Often spelled with a hyphen. Primarily heard in UK. Please pull over onto the lie-by while you wait for assistance.
See also: by, lie
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

lay by

To save something for future use: After she had laid by a good sum of money, the lawyer bought a new condo for use as her office. The mechanic packed up his tools and laid them by for the next project.
See also: by, lay
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
Late at night they arrived at an inn; and as it was bad travelling in the dark, and the duck seemed much tired, and waddled about a good deal from one side to the other, they made up their minds to fix their quarters there: but the landlord at first was unwilling, and said his house was full, thinking they might not be very respectable company: however, they spoke civilly to him, and gave him the egg which Partlet had laid by the way, and said they would give him the duck, who was in the habit of laying one every day: so at last he let them come in, and they bespoke a handsome supper, and spent the evening very jollily.
bread, rice, three Dutch cheeses, five pieces of dried goat's flesh (which we lived much upon), and a little remainder of European corn, which had been laid by for some fowls which we brought to sea with us, but the fowls were killed.
I laid by nine hundred safe, from England, and two thousand after Flint.
The researchers collected eggs laid by the deceived workers along with bona fide queen-laid eggs from the other part of the colony.
The females in these species, the vast sisterhood that does the work of the colony, come only from eggs laid by the queen.
Offered one of the cheater eggs laid by workers, the nursemaid ants hesitated.
During World War II, an estimated 300 million anti-tank and anti-personnel mines were laid by the Axis and Allied powers combined.
Because they are unfertilized, eggs laid by workers and that do hatch only yield sons.