la·​ity | \ ˈlā-ə-tē How to pronounce laity (audio) \

Definition of laity

1 : the people of a religious faith as distinguished from its clergy The laity has played an important role in the history of the church.
2 : the mass of the people as distinguished from those of a particular profession or those specially skilled writers who can interpret this wholeness both to their colleagues and the laity— P. B. Sears

Examples of laity in a Sentence

a member of the laity The laity has played an important role in the history of the church.
Recent Examples on the Web The intense little group must articulate the church’s goals, interview ministerial candidates and present the best applicant to the laity. Washington Post, 3 May 2022 Courageous clergy and laity organized resistance to this oppression. George Weigel, WSJ, 17 Mar. 2022 This suffering is elicited by the intercession of qualified (or ordained) critics and psychotherapists, who join in this communion of pain and distress, and share it with the laity via books and monographs. Will Self, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 That has emboldened bishops and laity to test the limits of Rome’s authority. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, 29 Sep. 2021 At one end, clergy and laity alike edged forward carrying the great block of stone with reverent heaving so intense, and with such reverent slow motion, that it was believed that angels moved it. Peter Brown, The New York Review of Books, 24 Sep. 2020 The church is planning a Spiritual Relief Mission to Haiti in February with Still Small Voice, the mission group that Durante is forming with the church laity. Kari Barnett,, 9 Sep. 2021 No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move; ’Twere profanation of our joys To tell the laity our love. John Edgar Wideman, The New Yorker, 8 July 2021 The position is currently held by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the head of the Vatican's laity office. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, 6 July 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of laity

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for laity

lay entry 5

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The first known use of laity was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Laity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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