Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

layman

play
noun lay·man \ˈlā-mən\

Simple Definition of layman

  • : a person who is not a member of a particular profession

  • : a person who belongs to a religion but is not a priest, minister, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of layman

  1. 1 :  a person who is not a member of the clergy

  2. 2 :  a person who does not belong to a particular profession or who is not expert in some field

Examples of layman in a sentence

  1. For a layman, he knows a lot about the law.

  2. He's an important layman in his church.



Did You Know?

Layman began its run in English as the open compound "lay man." In this context, "lay" is an adjective that can mean "belonging or relating to those not in holy orders," "not of the clergy," and "not ecclesiastical." The origins of "lay" and "layman" can be traced back through French and Late Latin to Greek laikos, meaning "of the people." Layman was originally used to distinguish between non-clerical people and the clergy, but it was soon also being used to distinguish non-professionals from professionals in a field (such as law or medicine). In a similar fashion, the collective noun "laity" originally referred to non-clerical people but came to also mean "persons not of a particular profession."

15th Century

First Known Use of layman

15th century

Other Christian Religious Terms

Rhymes with layman



LAYMAN Defined for Kids

layman

play
noun lay·man \ˈlā-mən\

Definition of layman for Students

plural

laymen

\-mən\
  1. 1 :  a person who is not a member of the clergy

  2. 2 :  a person who is not a member of a certain profession





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up layman? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

of striking ability or excellence

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

vernal brumal estival hiemal
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ