lay off

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lay off

1. verb To end someone's employment, usually due to a significant change in the company. A noun or pronoun can be used between "lay" and "off." How many people do you think will be laid off in this merger? I figured they would lay me off, I just didn't think it would be this soon.
2. verb To stop bothering someone or leave them alone. Lay off, will you? I'm working as fast as I can! Hey, lay off your brother, OK? Please don't be so rough with him.
3. verb To stop doing or using something. Well, you need to lay off the chocolates if you want to lose weight!
4. verb To designate the boundaries of something. Where is the pool going to go? Have you laid off that part of the yard yet?
5. noun The act of ending someone's employment, usually due to a significant change in the company. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word ("layoff"). Do you think this merger will be accompanied by layoffs?
6. noun A period of inactivity. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word ("layoff"). The team was rusty after such a long layoff between games.
See also: lay, off

lie off

Of a sailing vessel, to remain a safe distance away (from something). The harbor is much too shallow for the cruise liner to enter, so instead it lies off and sends passengers ashore on dinghies. We had best lie off the ship till we know for certain its allegiance.
See also: lie, off
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

lay someone off (from something)

to put an end to someone's employment at something. The automobile factory laid five hundred people off from work. They laid off a lot of people. We knew they were going to lay a lot of people off.
See also: lay, off

lay off (someone or something)

to leave someone or something alone. Lay off the booze for a while, why don't ya? Lay off me! I didn't do anything!
See also: lay, off

lay off

((of) someone or something) to stop doing something to someone or something; to stop bothering someone or something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) Lay off of me! You've said enough. Please lay off the chicken. I cooked it as best I could.
See also: lay, off
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

lay off

1. Terminate a person from employment. For example, When they lost the contract, they had to lay off a hundred workers. This expression formerly referred to temporary dismissals, as during a recession, with the idea that workers would be hired back when conditions improved, but with the tendency of businesses to downsize in the 1990s it came to mean "terminate permanently." [First half of 1800s]
2. Mark off the boundaries, as in Let's lay off an area for a flower garden. [Mid-1700s]
3. Stop doing something, quit, as in Lay off that noise for a minute, so the baby can get to sleep, or She resolved to lay off smoking. [Early 1900s]
4. Stop bothering or annoying someone, as in Lay off or I'll tell the teacher. [Slang; c. 1900]
5. Place all or part of a bet with another bookmaker so as to reduce the risk. For example, Some bookmakers protect themselves by laying off very large bets with other bookmakers. [Mid-1900s]
See also: lay, off
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

lay off

1. To terminate someone's employment, especially temporarily; suspend someone from work: The company had to lay off two dozen workers or it would have gone bankrupt. They had to lay the clerk off for stealing mail.
2. To mark the boundaries of some region and reserve that region; mark something off: We laid off the front part of the yard for a garden and left the back for a lawn. We used lime to lay the field off for the game.
3. To stop using or doing something: I'm going to have to lay off the cigarettes; they're making me sick.
4. Slang To stop bothering someone. Used chiefly as an angry command: Look, I'm trying to work, so just lay off me, okay?
See also: lay, off
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.

lay off

See also: lay, off

lay off (someone/something)

in. to stop bothering or harming someone or something; to stop being concerned about someone or something. Lay off the booze for a while, why don’t ya?
See also: lay, off, someone, something
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
She also said that a company laying off staff should not avoid paying redundancy entitlements.
Middle East Airlines (MEA) of Lebanon confirmed on Thursday (3 May) that it would be laying off 1,200 employees, or about one quarter of its workforce.
General Motors Corporation (GM) (NYSE: GM), the world's largest automaker, is laying off 750 workers, primarily at Saab's Trollhattan, Sweden, assembly plant.
Auto Truck Transport of Rowan County is laying off around 100 employees in mid-March, according to a filing with the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
Volvo, a Sweden-based automaker, is laying off more than 600 people, 40% of the workforce, at its New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia.
Iveco, an Italy-based truck manufacturer, is temporarily laying off around 1,200 workers in February 2009.
Daimler Trucks, a subsidiary of Daimler AG (NYSE: DAI) (FWB; DAI), is laying off workers at three North Carolina Freightliner plants and one at its home base of Portland, Oregon.
The automaker is laying off 1,800 white-collar workers temporarily in the first week of February, and 1,500 during the second week.
Hyundai Motors India Limited (Hyundai India), a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company (KSE: 005380), is laying off 2,000 temporary workers.
Volvo Car Corporation (Volvo Car), a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), is laying off 2,721 employees.