laity

noun
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 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 Their 2,300-page report, containing testimony from 64 victims, priests and laity, prompted Francis to do an about-face. Washington Post, "Pope to give Chilean bishops a dressing-down on abuse errors," 14 May 2018 The laity should reclaim its centrality in the church. Garry Wills, The New York Review of Books, "Garry Wills," 29 June 2016 Some Catholic commentators have speculated that Farrell must have at least heard the rumors that Catholic laity, students and professors at Catholic University in Washington and even some journalists had heard. Nicole Winfield, The Seattle Times, "US Vatican cardinal: “Not once did I even suspect” McCarrick," 31 July 2018 Their 2,300-page report, containing testimony from 64 victims, priests and laity, prompted Francis to do an about-face. Washington Post, "Pope to give Chilean bishops a dressing-down on abuse errors," 14 May 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.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/laity. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for laity

laity

noun
How to pronounce laity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of laity

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on laity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for laity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with laity

Spanish Central: Translation of laity

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about laity

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