lay·​per·​son ˈlā-ˌpər-sᵊn How to pronounce layperson (audio)
plural laypeople ˈlā-ˌpē-pəl How to pronounce layperson (audio) also laypersons
: a member of the laity (see laity sense 1)
It [the Vatican] permitted groups of laypeople to apply to their local bishop and, after affirming loyalty to Vatican II, receive an indult allowing limited celebration of the 1962 missal.Peter Jeffrey
Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha will award the Marian Medal to 79 laypersons from parishes throughout the Fall River Diocese …Mansfield (Massachusetts) News
: a person who does not belong to a particular profession or who is not expert or versed in some field
Intended for the layperson, this book uses straightforward language to aid in identifying more than 500 medicinal plants.Mark Blumenthal
Technically, it's called "Ultimate," but most laypeople need the "Frisbee" attached to make an association.Joe Miller

Examples of layperson in a Sentence

a meeting between clergy and laypeople
Recent Examples on the Web As the service came to an end, Bartholomew delivered the traditional blessing for a new archon, a layperson being honored for service to the Church. Robert F. Worth, The Atlantic, 10 Apr. 2024 This specific information has little importance in itself, but the fact that a layperson can find it in their own home while coffee water heats is astounding! Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, 31 Mar. 2024 If that sounds a bit vague to the layperson, its target is crystal clear to legal experts: It’s aimed at right-wing activists and politicians who have filed their cases in federal courthouses presided over by highly partisan judges in Texas. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2024 After all, everyone is a layperson in some facets of their existence. Zach St. George, New York Times, 5 Mar. 2024 Don’t take it from a layperson like me; ask your child’s pediatrician or the hotline. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2024 To the layperson, an advertising ID is a string of gibberish, something like bdca712j-fb3c-33ad-2324-0794d394m912. Byron Tau, WIRED, 27 Feb. 2024 Sullivan came on board in March 2022 as the first woman and the first layperson to sit in the president’s chair in Santa Clara’s 173-year history. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, 28 Jan. 2024 Yet this idea has been touted by business leaders, academics and laypersons. Eric Waller, Forbes, 11 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'layperson.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of layperson was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near layperson

Cite this Entry

“Layperson.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


lay·​per·​son ˈlā-ˌpərs-ᵊn How to pronounce layperson (audio)
: a member of the laity

More from Merriam-Webster on layperson

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