lay out

Idioms & Phrases

lay out

  1. Make a detailed plan, design, or explanation, as in They laid out the exact dimensions in order to construct the new display, or Robert laid out next year's plans for his staff. [Mid-1700s]

  2. Prepare a dead body for burial, as in He died that morning and was laid out for the wake by afternoon. [Late 1500s]

  3. Rebuke harshly, as in She laid me out for breaking the vase. [Slang; late 1800s]

  4. Knock unconscious or to the ground, render helpless, as in He laid him out with one good punch. [Late 1800s]

  5. Expend, spend, as in She laid out a fortune on jewelry. [Mid-1400s]

  6. Display or arrange, especially in a particular order, as in He asked her to lay out the merchandise in an attractive way. [Mid-1400s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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