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 One such example is the story of the Dominican friar Felix Fabri, who was known for recording his own pilgrimages in various formats, some geared toward the laity and some for his brothers. Kathryn Barush, The Conversation, "As coronavirus curtails travel, backyard pilgrimages become the way to a spiritual journey," 10 Aug. 2020 In the initial phases, there will be training and dialogue for priests and laity. Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Catholic Archdiocese to create 'families of parishes' of 3 to 6 parishes each," 6 June 2020 No member of the laity or clergy may conduct a worship service or a devotion of any kind in a church, or other location. al, "Mobile’s Catholic archbishop calls halt to services," 17 Mar. 2020 In a remarkable shift, it is being led by a 2-to-3 margin by laity. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "US Vatican cardinal: “Not once did I even suspect” McCarrick," 31 July 2018 In the twentieth century, as early packet-switching networks evolved into the Internet, a generation of futurists and TED talkers emerged, explaining the new system to the laity in a spirit of wide-eyed techno-utopianism. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "The Dark Side of Techno-Utopianism," 23 Sep. 2019 Some Catholic commentators have speculated that Farrell must have at least heard the same rumors that some Catholic laity, students and professors at Catholic University in Washington and even some journalists had heard. Nicole Winfield, Fox News, "US Vatican cardinal: "Not once did I even suspect" McCarrick," 31 July 2018 The canon does allow bishops to permit supplementary preaching by the laity when necessary or particularly advantageous. Declan Leary, National Review, "What America Magazine Gets Wrong about the Mass," 24 July 2019 Among the laity there are now serious efforts to draft and institute reforms that would ensure bishops tell the truth and are held accountable. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "When the Cardinal Sins," 30 July 2018

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

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Cite this Entry

“Laity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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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