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1. verb To cause someone to need to rest in order to recover or recuperate, as from illness or injury. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "up." Man, that flu laid me up for a week. All I did was sleep and eat chicken soup!
2. verb To obtain and stock something to keep in reserve. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "up." If I'm going to have 50 kids in my house next week, I better lay up a supply of paper towels now!
3. verb To damage (a ship, typically). A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "up." A collision will lay your ship up for days, if not longer.
4. verb To dock a vessel to repair damage. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "up." You need to lay that boat up and fix the sail.
5. verb To intentionally restrict one's golf swing, as to avoid an obstacle. I laid up so that I wouldn't hit the rogue golf cart.
6. noun In basketball, a shot made when a player is close to the basket, often by banking the ball off the backboard. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. The other team's defensive breakdown allowed me to score an easy layup.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
[of people or things] immobilized for recuperation or repairs. I was laid up for two weeks after my accident. My car is laid up for repairs. I was laid up with the flu for a week.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Also, sick in bed. Ill and confined to bed, as in I was laid up for a week with the flu, or Sally can't come outside; she's sick in bed. [Mid-1500s]
2. Put in a safe place, as in The ship was laid up in dock with engine trouble, or The hikers were laid up in a cave during the storm. [Mid-1600s] Also see under lay in; lay someone low.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.