lay·away | \ˈlā-ə-ˌwā \

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


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


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.


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

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 According to Tannahill, the winner of the contest is required to go into a gun store where the gun is being held on layaway. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Kansas Congressional candidate criticized for AR-15 giveaway | The Kansas City Star," 15 Feb. 2018 In an attempt to improve things, McClinton bought a microphone from audio company Shure on layaway. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Major Bill, seedy clubs, Davis mansion just a small part of McClinton’s Fort Worth past," 8 Feb. 2018 Marcus Morris of the Celtics and Markieff Morris of the Wizards decided to pay off the remaining balance for gifts put on layaway at a Northeast Philadelphia Walmart, according to ABC 11. Khadrice Rollins,, "Marcus and Markieff Morris Paid For Christmas Gifts On Layaway At a Philadelphia Walmart," 12 Dec. 2017 Shoppers can put items as low as $10 on layaway with a $50 minimum basket. Anne D'innocenzio, USA TODAY, "4 tips as shoppers start planning holiday toy shopping," 7 Oct. 2017 A few days ago, McGraw’s mom went to a local Walmart and paid off $5,000 worth of jewelry layaway and gave out cash to customers on the couple’s behalf. Lindsay Dreyer, Southern Living, "Faith Hill and Tim McGraw Are Going All-Out for Christmas This Year," 8 Dec. 2016

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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Statistics for layaway

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for layaway

The first known use of layaway was circa 1928

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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



English Language Learners Definition of layaway

: 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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Comments on layaway

What made you want to look up layaway? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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