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1. verb Of an illness or injury, to cause someone to have to convalesce. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "up." Man, that cold laid me up for a week—all I did was sleep.
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.
[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.
lay someone up
to cause someone to be ill in bed. A broken leg laid me up for two months. Flu laid up everyone at work for a week or more.
lay something up
1. to acquire and store something. Try to lay as much of it up as you can. I am trying to lay up some firewood for the winter.
2. [for something] to disable something. The accident laid up the ship for repairs. A wreck laid the bus up for months.
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.
1. To store or stock something for future use: We must lay up many supplies for our long journey. We bought a bushel of seed and laid half of it up for planting next year.
2. To confine someone with an illness or injury: A bad flu can lay you up for two weeks. Yellow fever laid up many of the people who worked on the Panama Canal. I was laid up for a month.
3. To put some sailing vessel in dock, as for repairs: We laid up the ship in Anchorage for six months. Let's lay the boat up at the next port.
4. To dock for repairs: The sailboat laid up in Charleston to have the rigging fixed.
5. To hit a golf shot less far than one is able so as to avoid a hazard: I was afraid of hitting the sand trap, so I laid up a bit.