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[ley-muh n] /ˈleɪ mən/
noun, plural laymen.
a person who is not a member of the clergy; one of the laity.
a person who is not a member of a given profession, as law or medicine.
Origin of layman
1150-1200; Middle English; see lay3, man1
Usage note
See -man. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for layman
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Cranmer, in short, was as complete and convinced an Erastian as any layman could possibly have been.

    Ten Tudor Statesmen Arthur D. Innes
  • They could not now expect any layman to have the courage to do so.

    For the Master's Sake Emily Sarah Holt
  • The layman discusses theology with the minister, and smiles.

  • Once, on a drunken spree, he let a layman wear his gown and rosary.

  • The cavalry had done everything quite according to tactics, which would only confuse the layman.

    My Second Year of the War Frederick Palmer
  • The speaker was a layman; he spoke with earnestness the more intense, because quiet.

    Loss and Gain John Henry Newman
  • In fact, every layman should be able to judge the importance of perfect gelatigenous tissue.

    Valere Aude Louis Dechmann
British Dictionary definitions for layman


noun (pl) -men
a man who is not a member of the clergy
a person who does not have specialized or professional knowledge of a subject: science for the layman
Gender-neutral form layperson
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for layman

"non-cleric," early 15c., from lay (adj.) + man (n.). Meaning "outsider, non-expert" (especially in regards to law or medicine) is from late 15c. Related: Laymen.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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