lay (something) by(redirected from lays it by)
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 either before or after "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.
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.