lay·​man | \ ˈlā-mən How to pronounce layman (audio) \

Definition of layman

1 : a person who is not a member of the clergy The parish council consisted of both clergy and laymen.
2 : a person who does not belong to a particular profession or who is not expert in some field For a layman, he knows a lot about the law.

Did you know?

Layman is a closed compound of lay man. Lay is an adjective that means "of or relating to the people of a religious faith (but not of its clergy)." The origins of lay and layman go back to Greek laikos, meaning "of the people." Layman was originally used to distinguish between non-clerical people and the clergy before being used to distinguish non-professionals from professionals in a field (such as law or medicine).

Examples of layman in a Sentence

For a layman, he knows a lot about the law. He's an important layman in his church.
Recent Examples on the Web The share values certainly reached eye-watering levels for a layman, but as Colvin wrote, Cook’s total compensation during his long, highly successful CEO tenure is equal to less than 0.1% of Apple’s market cap increase. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 6 May 2022 In layman's terms, this means that sophisticated traders and institutions continue to add protection against more downside in bitcoin between now and December 2022 and beyond by purchasing six-month and one-year expiry puts. Omkar Godbole, Forbes, 3 June 2022 In layman’s terms: the group wants to ensure future iterations of the still-nascent metaverse allow users to jump between platforms with minimal friction, with no single company dominating the landscape. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 22 June 2022 In layman’s terms, this means that people who deposited money with Celsius to reap its famously high returns can’t, for the time being, get it out. Steven Zeitchik,, 13 June 2022 In layman’s terms, coupling a heavy lifting movement with an explosive exercise immediately following can help generate more athletic force. Jeff Tomko, Men's Health, 8 June 2022 While all four lawyers took many hours to hit the high points of the wrong doings from each side, the main point argued, in layman terms, was that the person of the opposing team was lying. al, 27 May 2022 In layman’s terms, years of unfair societal treatment of underserved communities has funneled into poor healthcare. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 4 June 2022 Both before and during the pandemic, parents and community members have complained that the district’s communication is not consistent or put into layman’s speak. San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'layman.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of layman

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Last Updated

21 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Layman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for layman


lay·​man | \ ˈlā-mən How to pronounce layman (audio) \
plural laymen\ -​mən \

Kids Definition of layman

1 : a person who is not a member of the clergy
2 : a person who is not a member of a certain profession

More from Merriam-Webster on layman

Nglish: Translation of layman for Spanish Speakers


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