lay someone out
1. To lie or recline outside, especially so as to sunbathe. (A miswording of the grammatically correct "lie out.") I'm going to lay out for a while to work on my tan. I think the girls are all laying out.
2. To spread something out on a flat surface. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "out." We laid out the map to plan the next stage of our trip. Please lay my tools out beside me.
3. To detail or explain something explicitly, such as a plan or concept. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "out." When he began laying out his campaign strategy, we all realized that he actually had a shot at winning. When I pitched the proposal to my boss, he asked me to lay it out for the board of directors.
4. To spend or invest a certain (typically large) amount of money on a particular person or thing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "out." But with students or their parents laying out tens of thousands of dollars on college tuitions, many have begun to question how necessary those degrees are in the first place. I'm not keen to lay several hundred dollars out on a house we're only renting.
5. To chastise, rebuke, or upbraid someone very severely. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "out." The politician laid the reporter out for what he contends were inflammatory and libelous questions. The boss laid out the entire staff over our progress on the troubled project.
6. To render someone unconscious or prostrate on the ground as a result of a violent physical blow. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "out." Tammy laid out the burglar with a single punch to the abdomen. He threatened to lay me out if I ever made remarks like that about his girlfriend again.
7. To prepare or arrange someone's body before a wake, funeral, or burial. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "out." I was grateful for how peaceful the funeral director made my father look when he laid him out in his casket. In her will, she said she wanted to be laid out in all of her finest jewelry.
lay someone out
1. tv. to scold someone severely. (see also laid out.) She really laid out the guy but good. What did he do, rob a bank?
2. tv. to knock someone down with a punch. The boxer laid out his opponent with a blow to the head.
3. tv. to prepare someone for burial. (see also laid out. Not slang.) The undertaker did not lay Aunt Fanny out to my satisfaction.