a thickness of some material laid on or spread over a surface: a layer of soot on the window sill; two layers of paint.
bed; stratum: alternating layers of basalt and sandstone.
a person or thing that lays: a carpet layer.
a hen kept for egg production.
one of several items of clothing worn one on top of the other.
a shoot or twig that is induced to root while still attached to the living stock, as by bending and covering with soil.
a plant so propagated.
Ropemaking. a machine for laying rope or cable.
verb (used with object)
to make a layer of.
to form or arrange in layers.
to arrange or wear (clothing) in layers: You can layer this vest over a blouse or sweater.
Horticulture. to propagate by layering.
verb (used without object)
to separate into or form layers.
(of a garment) to permit of wearing in layers; be used in layering: Frilly blouses don't layer well.

1350–1400; Middle English leyer, legger. See lay1, -er1

layerable, adjective
interlayer, noun
interlayer, verb (used with object)
nonlayered, adjective Unabridged


3 [ley]
belonging to, pertaining to, or performed by the people or laity, as distinguished from the clergy: a lay sermon.
not belonging to, connected with, or proceeding from a profession, especially the law or medicine.

1300–50; Middle English < Middle French lai < Medieval Latin lāicus laic Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lay1 (leɪ)
vb , lays, laying, laid
1.  to put in a low or horizontal position; cause to lie: to lay a cover on a bed
2.  to place, put, or be in a particular state or position: he laid his finger on his lips
3.  not standard (intr) to be in a horizontal position; lie: he often lays in bed all the morning
4.  (sometimes foll by down) to establish as a basis: to lay a foundation for discussion
5.  to place or dispose in the proper position: to lay a carpet
6.  to arrange (a table) for eating a meal
7.  to prepare (a fire) for lighting by arranging fuel in the grate
8.  (also intr) (of birds, esp the domestic hen) to produce (eggs)
9.  to present or put forward: he laid his case before the magistrate
10.  to impute or attribute: all the blame was laid on him
11.  to arrange, devise, or prepare: to lay a trap
12.  to place, set, or locate: the scene is laid in London
13.  to apply on or as if on a surface: to lay a coat of paint
14.  to impose as a penalty or burden: to lay a fine
15.  to make (a bet) with (someone): I lay you five to one on Prince
16.  to cause to settle: to lay the dust
17.  to allay; suppress: to lay a rumour
18.  to bring down forcefully: to lay a whip on someone's back
19.  slang to have sexual intercourse with
20.  slang to bet on (a horse) to lose a race
21.  to press down or make smooth: to lay the nap of cloth
22.  to cut (small trunks or branches of shrubs or trees) halfway through and bend them diagonally to form a hedge: to lay a hedge
23.  to arrange and twist together (strands) in order to form (a rope, cable, etc)
24.  military to apply settings of elevation and training to (a weapon) prior to firing
25.  (foll by on) hunting to put (hounds or other dogs) onto a scent
26.  another word for inlay
27.  dialect, informal or (intr; often foll by to or out) to plan, scheme, or devise
28.  (intr) nautical to move or go, esp into a specified position or direction: to lay close to the wind
29.  nautical lay aboard (formerly) to move alongside a warship to board it
30.  lay a course
 a.  nautical to sail on a planned course without tacking
 b.  to plan an action
31.  lay bare to reveal or explain: he laid bare his plans
32.  lay hands on See hands
33.  lay hold of to seize or grasp
34.  lay oneself open to make oneself vulnerable (to criticism, attack, etc): by making such a statement he laid himself open to accusations of favouritism
35.  lay open to reveal or disclose
36.  lay siege to to besiege (a city, etc)
37.  the manner or position in which something lies or is placed
38.  taboo, slang
 a.  an act of sexual intercourse
 b.  a sexual partner
39.  a portion of the catch or the profits from a whaling or fishing expedition
40.  the amount or direction of hoist in the strands of a rope
usage  In careful English, the verb lay is used with an object and lie without one: the soldier laid down his arms; the Queen laid a wreath; the book was lying on the table; he was lying on the floor. In informal English, lay is frequently used for lie: the book was laying on the table. All careful writers and speakers observe the distinction even in informal contexts

lay2 (leɪ)
the past tense of lie

lay3 (leɪ)
1.  of, involving, or belonging to people who are not clergy
2.  nonprofessional or nonspecialist; amateur
[C14: from Old French lai, from Late Latin lāicus, ultimately from Greek laos people]

lay4 (leɪ)
1.  a ballad or short narrative poem, esp one intended to be sung
2.  a song or melody
[C13: from Old French lai, perhaps of Germanic origin]

layer (ˈleɪə)
1.  a thickness of some homogeneous substance, such as a stratum or a coating on a surface
2.  one of four or more levels of vegetation defined in ecological studies: the ground or moss layer, the field or herb layer, the shrub layer, and one or more tree layers
3.  a laying hen
4.  horticulture
 a.  a shoot or branch rooted during layering
 b.  a plant produced as a result of layering
5.  to form or make a layer of (something)
6.  to take root or cause to take root by layering
[C14 leyer, legger, from lay1 + -er1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. lecgan "to place on the ground (or other surface)," also "put down (often by striking)," from P.Gmc. *lagjanan (cf. O.S. leggian, O.N. leggja, O.Fris. ledza, M.Du. legghan, Du. leggen, O.H.G. lecken, Ger. legen, Goth. lagjan "to lay, put, place"), causative of lie (v.2).
Meaning "way in which something is laid" (lay of the land) first recorded 1819. Meaning "have sex with" first recorded 1934, in U.S. slang, from sense of "deposit" (which was in O.E., as in lay an egg, lay a bet, etc.), perhaps reinforced by to lie with, a frequent phrase 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. Lay off "dismiss" (an employee) is from 1868; meaning "stop disturbing" is from 1908. To lay for (someone) "await a chance at revenge" is from 1494; lay low "stay inconspicuous" is from 1839. To lay (someone) low preserves the secondary O.E. sense.

early 14c., from O.Fr. lai "secular, not of the clergy" (Fr. laïque), from L.L. laicus, from Gk. laikos "of the people," from laos "people," of unknown origin. In M.E., contrasted with learned, a sense revived 1810 for "non-expert."

"short song," c.1240, from O.Fr. lai "song, lyric," of unknown origin, perhaps from Celt. (cf. Ir. laid "song, poem," Gael. laoidh "poem, verse, play") since the earliest verses so called were Arthurian ballads, but another theory traces it to a Gmc. source, cf. O.H.G. leich "play, melody, song."

1382, "one who or that lays" (especially stones, "a mason"), from lay (v.). Passive sense of "that which is laid" first recorded 1615, but since earliest Eng. use was in cookery, this is perhaps from Fr. liue "binding," used of a thickened sauce.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

layer lay·er (lā'ər)
A single thickness of a material covering a surface or forming an overlying part or segment. v. lay·ered, lay·er·ing, lay·ers
To divide or form into layers.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Computing Dictionary

layer definition

protocol layer

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
Meanwhile, a team of researchers recently said it found an oily layer as thick as two inches coating the seafloor.
Melted snow that refreezes may cause a slick coating of ice to form on the surface of a layer.
The layer was dated by a technique called optically stimulated luminescence.
As the ship moves forward, the layer of air slides back and out from under the
Images for layer
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