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Old English lecgan "to place on the ground (or other surface)," also "put down (often by striking)," from Proto-Germanic *lagjanan (cf. Old Saxon leggian, Old Norse leggja, Old Frisian ledza, Middle Dutch legghan, Dutch leggen, Old High German lecken, German legen, Gothic lagjan "to lay, put, place"), causative of lie (v.2). As a noun, from 1550s, "act of laying." Meaning "way in which something is laid" (e.g. lay of the land) first recorded 1819.
Meaning "have sex with" first recorded 1934, in U.S. slang, probably from sense of "deposit" (which was in Old English, as in lay an egg, lay a bet, etc.), perhaps reinforced by to lie with, a phrase frequently met in the Bible. The noun meaning "woman available for sexual intercourse" is attested from 1930, but there are suggestions of it in stage puns from as far back as 1767. To lay for (someone) "await a chance at revenge" is from late 15c.; lay low "stay inconspicuous" is from 1839. To lay (someone) low preserves the secondary Old English sense.
"uneducated; non-clerical," early 14c., from Old French lai "secular, not of the clergy" (Modern French laïque), from Late Latin laicus, from Greek laikos "of the people," from laos "people," of unknown origin. In Middle English, contrasted with learned, a sense revived 1810 for "non-expert."
"short song," mid-13c., from Old French lai "song, lyric," of unknown origin, perhaps from Celtic (cf. Irish laid "song, poem," Gaelic laoidh "poem, verse, play") because the earliest verses so called were Arthurian ballads, but OED finds this "out of the question" and prefers a theory which traces it to a Germanic source, cf. Old High German leich "play, melody, song."
"speak falsely, tell an untruth," late 12c., from Old English legan, ligan, earlier leogan "deceive, belie, betray" (class II strong verb; past tense leag, past participle logen), from Proto-Germanic *leugan (cf. Old Norse ljuga, Danish lyve, Old Frisian liaga, Old Saxon and Old High German liogan, German lügen, Gothic liugan), from PIE root *leugh- "to tell a lie."
"rest horizontally," early 12c., from Old English licgan (class V strong verb; past tense læg, past participle legen) "be situated, reamin; be at rest, lie down," from Proto-Germanic *legjanan (cf. Old Norse liggja, Old Frisian lidzia, Middle Dutch ligghen, Dutch liggen, Old High German ligen, German liegen, Gothic ligan), from PIE *legh- "to lie, lay" (cf. Hittite laggari "falls, lies," Greek lekhesthai "to lie down," Latin lectus "bed," Old Church Slavonic lego "to lie down," Lithuanian at-lagai "fallow land," Old Irish laigim "I lie down," Irish luighe "couch, grave"). To lie with "have sexual intercourse" is from c.1300, and cf. Old English licgan mid "cohabit with." To take (something) lying down "passively, submissively" is from 1854.
"an untruth," Old English lyge "lie, falsehood," from Proto-Germanic *lugiz (cf. Old Norse lygi, Danish løgn, Old Frisian leyne (fem.), Dutch leugen (fem.), Old High German lugi, German Lüge, Gothic liugn "a lie"), from the root of lie (v.1). To give the lie to "accuse directly of lying" is attested from 1590s. Lie-detector first recorded 1909.
"manner of lying," 1690s, from lie (v.2). Sense in golf is from 1857.
The manner or position in which something is situated, especially the relation that the long axis of a fetus bears to that of its mother.
an intentional violation of the truth. Lies are emphatically condemned in Scripture (John 8:44; 1 Tim. 1:9, 10; Rev. 21:27; 22:15). Mention is made of the lies told by good men, as by Abraham (Gen. 12:12, 13; 20:2), Isaac (26:7), and Jacob (27:24); also by the Hebrew midwives (Ex. 1:15-19), by Michal (1 Sam. 19:14), and by David (1 Sam. 20:6). (See ANANIAS.)
in medieval French literature, a short romance, usually written in octosyllabic verse, that dealt with subjects thought to be of Celtic origin. The earliest lay narratives were written in the 12th century by Marie De France; her works were largely based on earlier Breton versions thought to have been derived from Celtic legend. The Breton lay, a 14th-century English poetic form based on these lays, is exemplified by "The Franklin's Tale" in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales