Why was clemency trending last week?


[ley-awf, -of] /ˈleɪˌɔf, -ˌɒf/
the act of dismissing employees, especially temporarily.
a period of enforced unemployment or inactivity.
Origin of layoff
1885-90, Americanism; noun use of verb phrase lay off
Can be confused
lay off, layoff. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for layoff
  • By the second week of the crisis, résumés flood the online databases, and the layoff announcements in the dot com sector begin.
  • Declare financial exigency, or whatever in your system must be declared, to permit the layoff of faculty and staff members.
  • For years, it has happily negotiated contracts with generous salary increases and no-layoff clauses.
  • layoff rates peaked and declined, but firms still had little interest in hiring.
  • If the company is large, they could layoff workers and squeeze more productivity out of others.
  • layoff lit: in publishing, sudden unemployment begets a fashionable genre.
  • It's not an easy choice, particularly for companies in layoff mode.
  • How a single layoff reverberates around one community's economy--and why the impact could last for years.
  • They'll figure it out when there's a layoff or reorganization.
  • The second layoff was from a startup company that never quite started up.
Word Origin and History for layoff

also lay-off, lay off; 1889, "rest, respite;" from lay (v.) + off. Via seasonal labor with periodic down time, it came to have a sense of "temporary release from employment," and by 1960s was being used somewhat euphemistically for permanent releases of masses of workers by employers. The verbal phrase lay off is attested from 1868 as "dismiss" (an employee); meaning "stop disturbing" is from 1908.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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layoff in Culture

layoff definition

The temporary or permanent removal of a worker from his or her job, usually because of cutbacks in production or corporate reorganization.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for layoff


  1. A dismissal or furlough from a job (1919+)
  2. The part of a bookmaker's bets placed with another agent to forestall catastrophic loss (1950s+ Gambling)
  3. An unemployed actor: A couple of layoffs were walking out of the hotel (1950s+ Theater)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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