lay·​away | \ ˈlā-ə-ˌwā How to pronounce layaway (audio) \

Definition of layaway

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a purchasing agreement by which a retailer agrees to hold merchandise secured by a deposit until the price is paid in full by the customer

lay away

laid away; laying away; lays away

Definition of lay away (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to put aside for future use or delivery

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Examples of layaway in a Sentence

Noun We bought the table and chairs on layaway, so we won't have them until December. The store offers a layaway plan for large purchases. Verb the weather forecast warned of a severe storm, so we laid away a generous supply of bottled water and canned food just in case
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The kid who worked out a deal with Bill Stroud to park equipment on layaway for $5 a week became enamored with the former U.S. Army Air Corps flier who ran missions over Europe. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: San Diego fly-fishing haven Stroud Tackle reminds us of unrushed yesterdays," 27 Sep. 2019 Kmart aired its first Christmas commercial of 2014 in September and in 2015, Walmart pushed the opening of its holiday layaway program from September to August. Laura Stampler, Fortune, "Yes, Virginia, 2019’s First Department Store Christmas Kicked Off in July," 1 Aug. 2019 But the practice of layaway isn’t even a century old. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Tyler Perry paid off 1,500 Walmart layaway accounts, but the service can be risky for low-income shoppers," 12 Dec. 2018 Unlike loans and other types of installment plans, layaway does not involve interest. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Tyler Perry paid off 1,500 Walmart layaway accounts, but the service can be risky for low-income shoppers," 12 Dec. 2018 Perry cleared the Walmart layaway accounts of 1,500 Atlanta-area shoppers, a deed that totaled $434,000. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Tyler Perry paid off 1,500 Walmart layaway accounts, but the service can be risky for low-income shoppers," 12 Dec. 2018 All forms of payment will be accepted, including layaway and financing. Elaine Adams, kansascity, "Father and daughter savor surprise moment together | The Kansas City Star," 1 May 2018 Key to that goal are: its merchandise assortment, low prices, strip center locations, customer service and credit and layaway programs, the chain's leaders say. Katherine Peralta, charlotteobserver, "This Charlotte retailer had 'a very disappointing year.' Can it turn things around? | Charlotte Observer," 7 May 2018 Instead, save your money for a Coachella layaway plan. Jonny Coleman, Los Angeles Magazine, "Why the Hell Can’t Hollywood Make a Decent Music Festival Movie?," 11 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'layaway.' 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 layaway


1944, in the meaning defined above


circa 1928, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for layaway

Time Traveler

The first known use of layaway was circa 1928

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Statistics for layaway

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Layaway.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for layaway



Financial Definition of layaway

What It Is

Layaway is an arrangement in which a retailer agrees to reserves a piece of merchandise for a customer who cannot immediately pay for it in full.

How It Works

Layaway is a delayed payment method. A customer deposits a fraction of an item's price, and then the retailer stores the item for a specific period of time. The customer must pay for the item within an agreed time frame or else the retailer will put it back on the shelves for other customers.

For example, let's assume Bob wants to buy a $50 food processor Big Store, but does not have enough money. Bob decides to use Big Store's layaway plan, instead. He deposits $10 with Big Store and they agree to hold the item for 10 days. Bob has 10 days to pay the remaining $40, and if he doesn't, Big Store will put the food processor back on the sales floor.

Why It Matters

Layaway plans are good options for customers who don't have access to credit or who don't want to use credit. After falling out of vogue for many years, some stores are bringing layaway plans back as a way to attract cash-strapped consumers.

Source: Investing Answers


How to pronounce lay away (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of layaway

US : a way of buying something in which you do not receive the thing you are buying until you have paid the full price by making small payments over a period of time

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with layaway

Comments on layaway

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