layoff

noun
lay·​off | \ ˈlā-ˌȯf How to pronounce layoff (audio) \

Definition of layoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a period of inactivity or idleness
2 : the act of laying off an employee or a workforce also : shutdown

lay off

verb
laid off; laying off; lays off

Definition of lay off (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to mark or measure off
2 : to cease to employ (a worker) often temporarily
3 of a bookie : to place all or part of (an accepted bet) with another bookie to reduce the risk
4a : to leave undisturbed
b : avoid, quit was advised to lay off smoking and alcohol
c : to refrain from swinging at (a pitch)

intransitive verb

1 : to stop doing or taking something
2 : to leave one alone wish you'd just lay off

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Examples of layoff in a Sentence

Noun

The company announced the layoff of several hundred employees. More layoffs are expected at the factory later this year. The band finally has a new album after a three year layoff. a layoff of three years

Verb

you need to lay off eating those jelly doughnuts, or you'll end up looking like one
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Epstein left open the possibility of Zobrist returning, but that seems unlikely for a 38-year-old after a long layoff. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Take a bow, Cubs meatballs. You helped bring Craig Kimbrel to Chicago.," 10 June 2019 Small fireworks businesses are worried the tariffs would hurt them, leading to layoffs of hundreds of seasonal workers and higher costs for customers. Madeline Purdue, USA TODAY, "This holiday could fizzle if the US-China trade war blows up," 19 June 2019 Most of layoffs were MB corporate back office and administrative employees. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fifth Third to close 44 Chicago-area branches in July after completing MB bank merger," 17 June 2019 The benefits of unionization, which guarantees severance and annual pay raises, have only become more obvious during the series of layoffs in recent months. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "BuzzFeed journalists just walked off the job in 4 cities. Here’s why.," 17 June 2019 The states also worry the merger would result in layoffs at retail stores. Klint Finley, WIRED, "State Attorneys General Sue to Block T-Mobile/Sprint Merger," 11 June 2019 There were layoffs and hundreds of positions were eliminated, according to reports at the time. Lucette Lagnado, WSJ, "A Sisterhood of Nurses," 11 Aug. 2018 Hurricane Irma winds last year ripped the building’s dome roof off the structure, resulting in a shutdown and a layoff of more than 200 employees at the site. Marco Santana, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Welding gun sparked Pirates Dinner Theater fire, officials say," 30 May 2018 Older workers protested that they were targeted in last year's layoff of about 1,400. Jeff Manning, OregonLive.com, "Nike purge continues -- five more managers out," 8 May 2018

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

Noun

1889, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1748, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for layoff

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for layoff

The first known use of layoff was in 1748

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More Definitions for layoff

layoff

noun

Financial Definition of layoff

What It Is

A layoff is a temporary or permanent termination of employment by an employer.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe works for Company XYZ. He has worked there for 15 years. Company XYZ begins having cash flow problems and has to reduce its labor expense in order to avoid going out of business. In turn, it decides to shed 1,000 workers, of which John is one. This mass termination is called a layoff.

A layoff is not the same as being fired. Firings typically occur when an employee is at fault or has disobeyed company policies; terminations are not necessarily a direct reflection of a particular employee's performance (although it takes a village to wreck a company).

Why It Matters

From an investing standpoint, layoffs indicate a struggling company and thus are red flags for their investors. Layoffs can be surprises to people, and they are one of many reasons that investors should have emergency funds on hand at all times.

However, people often get some indication that a layoff is coming. The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires employers to provide 60 days' notice (sometimes more) of plant closings and mass layoffs. However, this applies to companies with more than 100 employees (and that 100 generally cannot include people who have been with the company for fewer than six months or part-timers).

Source: Investing Answers

layoff

noun

English Language Learners Definition of layoff

: the act of ending the employment of a worker or group of workers
: a period of time during which there is no activity

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More from Merriam-Webster on layoff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with layoff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for layoff

Spanish Central: Translation of layoff

Nglish: Translation of layoff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of layoff for Arabic Speakers

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