belay

verb
be·​lay | \ bi-ˈlā How to pronounce belay (audio) , bē-\
belayed; belaying

Definition of belay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to secure (a rope or cable) by turns around a cleat (see cleat entry 1 sense 1b), pin, or bitt
b : to make fast : to fasten down belaying ammunition on deck
2 nautical : stop, cancel belay that last order
3a : to secure (a person) at the end of a rope belay a climber belaying each other over the difficult places.National Geographic
b : to secure (a rope) to a person or object

intransitive verb

1 : to be made fast knowing where each rope belays on deck
2 nautical : stop, quit used in the imperative belay there
3 : to make a line (see line entry 1 sense 1) fast by turns around a cleat, pin, or bitt

belay

noun

Definition of belay (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the securing of a person or a safety rope to an anchor point (as during mountain climbing) Belays are more difficult to secure on ice and snow than on rock …— Kenneth A. Henderson also : a method of so securing a person or rope
2 : something (such as a projection of rock) to which a person or rope is anchored

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Other Words from belay

Verb

belayer \ bi-​ˈlā-​ər How to pronounce belayer (audio) , bē-​ \ noun

Examples of belay in a Sentence

Verb

The climber belayed the rope.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Will his lethal scoring ability and elite hockey sense be enough to belay those concerns? Richard Morin, azcentral, "Arizona Coyotes in 'more discussions' at NHL draft than previous years," 20 June 2019 Sport climbing involves climbing heights of 40 feet or higher with a rope and belaying partner. Jen Murphy, WSJ, "A Climber Still Seeking New Peaks Later in Life," 26 Jan. 2019 Trying to climb tougher grades should be a part of your efforts to improve, but focusing only on the numbers can ruin the fun for you and your belaying best friends. Emily Abbate, GQ, "Everything You Need to Know Before Joining a Rock Climbing Gym," 20 June 2018 Every week, the kid climbers are accompanied by a volunteer mentor—the same person each week, who belays and gives advice and encouragement. Christopher Solomon, Outside Online, "Climbing to a Better Life for Seattle's Refugees," 27 Apr. 2018 For most national associations, certification involves demonstrating several years of backcountry skiing experience, belaying experience, and basic alpine climbing systems. Cassidy Randall, Outside Online, "When to Have Kids When You Work in the Mountains?," 3 Apr. 2018 Seeing a reflection of her own Federation in this resistance cell, Burnham belays the order and goes down to the alien surface to confront its leader. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Feels Increasingly More Comfortable In a Universe of Killers," 15 Jan. 2018 The class finished with the auto belay, a machine that belays for solo climbers. Kara Carlson, The Seattle Times, "First time at the rock gym: Here’s how you get started," 12 July 2017 Rope is looped around metal dowels called belaying pins that sit in a horizontal steel bar called a pin rail. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Like sand through an hourglass, National Theatre’s sandbags are slipping away," 26 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Free climbing uses ropes, harnesses and belays only as a means of protection, rather than to assist upward progress. George Ramsay, CNN, "Everest deaths: 'Corners are being massively cut'," 24 June 2019 Most belay accidents are caused by human error and are easily preventable. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "Testing Wild Country's Revo Belay Device," 2 July 2018 Whereas roped climbing requires a belay buddy to control the rope, Varisco points out that bouldering is a one-person job. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "Why You Should Try Bouldering Like Brie Larson," 7 Jan. 2019 Chicken eggs are much simpler to get, requiring no harnesses or belay equipment, and have likely been part of the human diet since about 1400 b.c., if not earlier. Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Why Pastured Eggs Are the Perfect Food," 13 Sep. 2018 The bottom climber belays — controlling slack in the rope and arresting falls — and then climbs up after the lead climber finishes the pitch. Peter Fimrite, The Seattle Times, "Witness describes death plunge of two Yosemite climbers," 11 June 2018 The Revo is the first bidirectional belay device with a true auto-locking mechanism. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "Testing Wild Country's Revo Belay Device," 2 July 2018 The bottom climber belays — controlling slack in the rope and arresting falls — and then climbs up after the lead climber finishes the pitch. Peter Fimrite, The Seattle Times, "Witness describes death plunge of two Yosemite climbers," 11 June 2018 The bottom climber belays — controlling slack in the rope and arresting falls — and then climbs up after the lead climber finishes the pitch. Peter Fimrite, The Seattle Times, "Witness describes death plunge of two Yosemite climbers," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'belay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of belay

Verb

circa 1550, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1905, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for belay

Verb

Middle English beleggen to beset, from Old English belecgan, from be- + lecgan to lay

Noun

noun derivative of belay entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near belay

belaud

be laughing

Belawan

belay

Belaya

belaying pin

bel canto

Statistics for belay

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for belay

The first known use of belay was circa 1550

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More Definitions for belay

belay

verb

English Language Learners Definition of belay

: to attach (a rope) to something so that it is secure : to attach a secure rope to (a person) for safety

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with belay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for belay

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