1. To lie or recline outside, especially so as to sunbathe. (A common variation of the more proper "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.
1. To rest or recline outside, especially so as to sunbathe. I'm going to lie out for a while to work on my tan. I think the girls are all lying out by the pool.
2. To be left exposed in or atop something or some place. You can't leave your tools lying out on the kitchen table like that, Bob—one of the kids could have gotten into them! I wouldn't let sensitive information like that just lay out in the open for anyone to see, Dan.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
lay someone out
1. Sl. to knock someone down with a punch; to knock someone unconscious. Tom laid out Bill with one punch to the chin. The policeman laid the thief out.
2. to prepare a corpse for burial or for a wake. They laid out their uncle for the wake. The women of the community used to lay their dead out.
3. Sl. to scold someone severely. Don't lay me out! I didn't do it! She really laid out the guy but good. What did he do, rob a bank?
lay something out
1. Lit. to spread something out. The nurse laid the instruments out for the operation. The valet laid out the clothing for his employer.
2. Fig. to explain a plan of action or a sequence of events. Let me lay it out for you. Lay out the plan very carefully, and don't skip anything.
3. Fig. to spend some amount of money. I can't lay that kind of money out every day! She laid out about $24,000 for that car.
lie out (in something)
to remain out (unenclosed or unprotected) in some area. Who left my screwdriver lying out in the rain? It's not lying out. It's in the drawer.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Make a detailed plan, design, or explanation, as in They laid out the exact dimensions in order to construct the new display, or Robert laid out next year's plans for his staff. [Mid-1700s]
2. Prepare a dead body for burial, as in He died that morning and was laid out for the wake by afternoon. [Late 1500s]
3. Rebuke harshly, as in She laid me out for breaking the vase. [Slang; late 1800s]
4. Knock unconscious or to the ground, render helpless, as in He laid him out with one good punch. [Late 1800s]
5. Expend, spend, as in She laid out a fortune on jewelry. [Mid-1400s]
6. Display or arrange, especially in a particular order, as in He asked her to lay out the merchandise in an attractive way. [Mid-1400s]
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.
1. To make something explicit, especially an idea or plan: Let me lay out my ideas for our next move. The architect laid the plans out for the new building.
2. To clothe and prepare someone who is dead for burial: The funeral home laid the body out for visitation. The mortician laid out the body for the family to view.
3. To rebuke someone harshly: She laid me out for breaking the vase. The coach laid out the team for its mistakes.
4. To knock someone to the ground, especially to knock someone unconscious: She laid him out with an unexpected punch in the gut. The police officer laid out the attacker with a swift kick.
5. To expend something; spend something: The rich couple laid out a fortune on jewelry for the wedding. We can't lay that much money out without more information.
6. To put something on display: It's time to lay out the merchandise for the new season. Every day the jeweler lays the watches out in the display case.
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.