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lay (someone or something) before (someone or something)
1. old-fashioned To set or place someone or something down before someone or something else. In both usages, the object of "lay" is sometimes placed in other parts of the sentence. Please lay the child before the fire. We don't want her to come down with hypothermia. She laid before the altar a garland of roses.
2. old-fashioned To present some topic, issue, case, etc., to someone or some group. The minister lays before parliament a most interesting issue. You must be absolutely certain of the fact before you lay this case before the high court.
lie before (someone or something)
1. To physically exist in front or ahead of someone or something. As we trudged through the desert, it looked as though a magnificent oasis lay before us, but it was just a mirage, some accursed trick of the sun. Some worrisome footprints lie before our front door—I hope we've not been burgled!
2. To be or exist in the future of someone or something. One should never presume to know what may lie before them, as life is far often more fickle than that.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
lay something before someone
1. Lit. to present something to someone. The cat laid the mouse before her mistress. Dave laid the present before her as a peace offering.
2. Fig. to present something for someone to judge. All you can do is lay the matter before the teacher and hope for a favorable response. I want to lay this before you and let you decide.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.