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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."
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.
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.