way·lay | \ˈwā-ˌlā \
waylaid\ˈwā-ˌlād \; waylaying

Definition of waylay 

transitive verb

: to lie in wait for or attack from ambush

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Synonyms for waylay


ambush, surprise (also surprize)

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Examples of waylay in a Sentence

Gangs sometimes waylay travelers on that road. We were waylaid by a group of kids with water balloons.

Recent Examples on the Web

Aside from 2008, when Brady was waylaid by a knee injury on opening day, the last time New England failed to win the AFC East was 2002. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Patriots training camp questions: Will rocky offseason carry over for AFC champions?," 13 July 2018 That actor, John Carroll Lynch, stars as Early, a quiet insurance man in small-town Mississippi who has been waylaid by the death of his wife of 26 years. Timothy Mcneil, New York Times, "Review: ‘Anything’ Finds a Small-Town Man Baffled by the Big City," 10 May 2018 The heavily armed men who waylaid the three on a street identified themselves as cops. Patrick J. Mcdonnell, latimes.com, "In echo of Parkland shooting outrage, anger rises in Mexico after film students were killed and dissolved in acid," 24 Apr. 2018 Blues Traveler did have other things on its collective mind -- including three management changes in a short span of time that waylaid the quintet's forward progress. Gary Graff, Billboard, "Blues Traveler Shares 'Accelerated Nation' Lyric Video From Upcoming Album: Premiere," 13 July 2018 Convention center, homeless, roads How the county election initiative got waylaid was confounding but the issue with the hotel-tax measure is downright baffling. Michael Smolens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Why San Diego's marquee initiatives might not make the ballot," 29 June 2018 In the decade after the war, South Korean fishing vessels were regularly waylaid and their crews seized. James Griffiths, CNN, "Abe wants to make Trump's North Korea talks even more complicated," 7 June 2018 An athlete’s demons are never really slayed so much as waylaid. Sean Gregory, Time, "How Mikaela Shiffrin Became the Best Skier in the World," 1 Feb. 2018 Several members of Parliament and other officials were waylaid in public for not standing up to the demands of the country’s creditors. Yannis Palaiologos, WSJ, "The Far Left and Right Run Riot on Greek Streets," 28 May 2018

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

1513, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near waylay







way mail

Statistics for waylay

Last Updated

27 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for waylay

The first known use of waylay was in 1513

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More Definitions for waylay



English Language Learners Definition of waylay

: to stop (someone who is going somewhere)

: to attack (someone or something) by surprise from a hidden place


way·lay | \ˈwā-ˌlā \
waylaid\-ˌlād \; waylaying

Kids Definition of waylay

: to attack from hiding

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Comments on waylay

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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