Definitions

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

  • noun One who is not a cleric.
  • noun One who is a nonprofessional in a given field.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An unprofessional man; a man belonging to the laity or general mass of people, as distinguished from members of the professions of divinity, law, and medicine; specifically, one who does not belong to the clerical profession; more particularly, a church-member who is not a clergyman: also sometimes applied to persons with reference to any other profession or occupation in which they are not expert.
  • noun Same as lay-figure, 1.

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

  • noun One of the people, in distinction from the clergy; one of the laity; sometimes, a man not belonging to some particular profession, in distinction from those who do.
  • noun A lay figure. See under Lay, n. (above).

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

  • noun layperson, someone who is not an ordained cleric or member of the clergy
  • noun by analogy, someone who is not a professional in a given field
  • noun a common person
  • noun a person who is untrained or lacks knowledge of a subject
  • noun a generally ignorant person
  • noun lay-sister or lay-brother, person received into a convent of monks, following the vows, but not being member of the order

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

  • noun someone who is not a clergyman or a professional person

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English lay +‎ man

Examples

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