Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of or relating to the laity; secular.
  • noun A layperson.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Belonging to the laity or people, in distinction from the clergy or professionals.
  • noun A layman, in distinction from a clergyman.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A layman.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to a layman or the laity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A layperson, as opposed to a member of the clergy.
  • adjective Lay, relating to laypersons, as opposed to clerical.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective characteristic of those who are not members of the clergy

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin lāicus; see lay.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin laĭcus ("common people"), from Ancient Greek λαός.

Examples

  • The confinement made him fretful and exacting, and the old Marquise ascribed the change in his behaviour to the deplorable influence of his tutor, a "laic" recommended by one of Raymond's old professors.

    The Custom of the Country

  • Established as a secular state by Mustafa Kemal, Attaturk (popularly known as the Father of the Turks), Turkey's political elite and military often defined and implemented their brand secularism (laic) as a hardline secularism, more autocratic than democratic, that was often anti-religion with little space for Islam in the public square.

    John L. Esposito: Post Turkey: Obama's Challenges and Opportunities in the Muslim World

  • Luc ët ðë riisënt Jhëërmën modificeixën, it traid të regiëlëraiz ðë speliñ böt respectiñ ðë tradixën, ënd ðë risoolt wëz disëpointiñ, insted ëv put ðë loñ vawëlz in ounli wön wei (för instans döbliñ ðem), ðei hëv nau tripël consënënts (laic “Programmmusik”).

    English spelling reform | Linguism | Language Blog

  • Luc ët ðë riisënt Jhëërmën modificeixën, it traid të regiëlëraiz ðë speliñ böt respectiñ ðë tradixën, ënd ðë risoolt wëz disëpointiñ, insted ëv put ðë loñ vawëlz in ounli wön wei (för instans döbliñ ðem), ðei hëv nau tripël consënënts (laic “Programmmusik”).

    English spelling reform | Linguism | Language Blog

  • French laws have been fiercely laic for the longest time now.

    Think Progress » VIDEO: Zahn Interviews McGovern, Defends Rumsfeld

  • Taking into account simple preconditions for a nation to emerge, such as ‘national identity’ (preferably laic) - are we sure that each and every nation in the Arab World had its unique identity at the moment of its creation?

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • There is a strong consensus in France that the core of the welfare state must be preserved, that education should be free, public and laic.

    The French election Post

  • The conservative Christian leadership includes both hypocritical clerics like Robertson, Falwell, Dobson and Phelps, and neocon laic politicians like Bush, Ashcroft, Frisch and DeLay.

    THREE TYPES OF CONSERVATIVES

  • Trapbois will none of them, whether clerical or laic.

    The Fortunes of Nigel

  • However, they were nothing less, as Master Aedituus told us; assuring us, at the same time, that they were neither secular nor laic; and the truth is, the diversity of their feathers and plumes did not a little puzzle us.

    Five books of the lives, heroic deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel

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