la·​ity | \ˈlā-ə-tē \

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

Their 2,300-page report, containing testimony from 64 victims, priests and laity, prompted Francis to do an about-face. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "Pope to give Chilean bishops a dressing-down on abuse errors," 12 May 2018 Francis approved revised statutes for the Vatican's laity and family office, one of the big new departments created by Francis as part of his reform of the Vatican bureaucracy. Fox News, "Pope assigns Vatican office to promote women's participation," 8 May 2018 Meredith's activism for gay clergy within the mainline Protestant denomination has put him in direct and frequent opposition with some Methodist clergy and laity. Mark Curnutte,, "Hate crime? Activist gay minister's seminary diploma stolen from his church," 7 May 2018 Collected here are examples of ecclesiastic garb as it has been translated for the laity. Vogue, "Sunday Best: How Liturgical Silhouettes and Symbolism Have Been Interpreted by Fashion," 3 May 2018 The group consists of an estimated 40 faith leaders from all denominations and faith traditions, clergy and laity, youth and adult, who believe religious leaders should be more vocal in advocating for gun control. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Two Shorewood High School students leading 50 Miles More march to Paul Ryan's hometown to protest gun laws," 23 Mar. 2018 Francis appointed Barros a bishop despite objections from local clergy and laity. Sarah Jones, New Republic, "Pope Francis is embroiled in a major pedophile scandal.," 6 Feb. 2018 The Barros affair first caused shockwaves in January 2015 when Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno, Chile, over the objections of the leadership of Chile’s bishops’ conference and many local priests and laity. Time, "Pope Francis' Advisors Say He Knew About Sexual Abuse by a Chilean Reverend," 5 Feb. 2018 Luther, perhaps more aware of the accessibility of the thoughts and writings of Wycliffe and Hus, or of the growing pressures of print and vernacular literacy, dismisses the idea that the laity were to be excluded from these disputes. Marilynne Robinson, New Republic, "The Luther Legend," 12 Dec. 2017

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.

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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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La Jolla

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

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English Language Learners Definition of laity

: the people of a religion who are not priests, ministers, etc.

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