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1. To fully recline, as on a bed or couch; to get into a horizontal position. I need to lay down—my head is pounding. She said she didn't sleep well last night and went upstairs to lay down.
2. To set or put someone or something down. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "down." I just laid the baby down in the bassinette, so try not to make too much noise. Lay those magazines down on the coffee table, please. Gentlemen, lay down your arms! There's been a truce.
3. To yield or submit. We need to play hard today—these guys aren't just going to lay down and let us take the championship.
4. To give a directive or order. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "down." As the CEO, you lay down the rules for the entire company.
5. To keep or save something for the future. You should lay down part of each paycheck and put it into a retirement fund.
To recline; to be prostrate. (Be careful not to make the common mistake of saying or writing "lay down" instead, unless you are speaking solely in the past tense.) I'm going to go lie down for a little while. Wake me before dinner, all right? I lay down beneath the shade of the sycamore and watched the rowboats in the canal drift by.
lay someone down
to ease someone into a reclining position; to ease someone into bed. The baby woke up when I tried to lay him down. The nurse laid the disturbed patient down time and time again.
lay something down (on something)
to place something down on something. Lay the plates down on the table gently. Please lay down your book and listen to me.
to give up. Do you expect me to just lay down? You really think I should just lay down and let them walk all over me?
1. Give something up, surrender, as in They laid down their arms. [c. 1300]
2. Formulate, specify, as in The club laid down new membership rules. [Late 1400s]
3. Also, lay down one's life. Sacrifice one's life, as in He would willingly lay down his life for his children. [c. 1600]
4. Store for the future, as in It was a great vintage year for burgundy, and Mark laid down several cases. [Early 1800s] Also see lay aside, def. 2.
1. To put something in a horizontal or lying position: You can lay down the newspaper on the table. Lay the baby down in the crib.
2. To put down some weapon in order to surrender: The militants laid down their weapons. The protesters laid their signs down when the mayor came out to speak to them.
3. To specify something firmly: The first thing the counselor did was to lay down the rules for the campers. The club owner laid the business policies down for the employees.
in. to give up. Do you expect me to just lay down?