way·​lay | \ ˈwā-ˌlā How to pronounce waylay (audio) \
waylaid\ ˈwā-​ˌlād How to pronounce waylaid (audio) \; waylaying

Definition of waylay

transitive verb

: to lie in wait for or attack from ambush

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Synonyms for waylay


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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 Sorek had apparently been waylaid between the nearest bus stop and the yeshiva’s entrance — a distance of roughly 100 yards — along a road that is generally considered safe for Jews, the rabbi said. David M. Halbfinger, BostonGlobe.com, "Yeshiva student found stabbed to death in West Bank," 8 Aug. 2019 After waylaying a doctor en route to a new job at a sleep clinic, Beck takes his place and immediately starts putting the moves on patients. Ed Stockly, latimes.com, "What’s on TV Saturday and Sunday talk shows: ‘Planet Earth: The Hunt’ on BBC America," 12 July 2019 The Aggies were waylaid at Washington State by a 58-7 count, not even coming close to covering a 33-point number. Joe Williams, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "New Mexico State Aggies at Alabama Crimson Tide odds, picks and best bets," 4 Sep. 2019 The Ashes, traveling with a toddler, feared getting waylaid and stranded. Sean P. Murphy, BostonGlobe.com, "A trip to Ireland balloons from $2,100 to nearly $17,000," 25 Aug. 2019 But then what was funny was that I actually got waylaid because that was when Cambridge Analytica got on my case. Eric Johnson, Vox, "Journalist Carole Cadwalladr has a question for tech workers: Are you okay with your bosses enabling “techno-fascism?”," 8 July 2019 This has caused car makers to worry that the Trump revisions will get waylaid in court if California sues. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "California’s Backseat Drivers," 16 June 2019 In Bauer, Brooker created a clear embodiment of all Silicon Valley’s idealistic, hopeful futurism, waylaid by a culture of excess and personal hubris. Aja Romano, Vox, "“Smithereens” takes aim at the tech dystopia we already live in but has nothing new to say.," 5 June 2019 Leading the revival, alongside Michael Cera and Lucas Hedges, is the 86-year-old Elaine May, playing an octogenarian gallerist waylaid by Alzheimer’s disease. Marley Marius, Vogue, "Elaine May Is Back on Broadway, and Not a Moment Too Soon," 26 Oct. 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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Statistics for waylay

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for waylay

The first known use of waylay was in 1513

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More Definitions for waylay


How to pronounce waylay (audio)

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 How to pronounce waylay (audio) \
waylaid\ -​ˌlād \; waylaying

Kids Definition of waylay

: to attack from hiding

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More from Merriam-Webster on waylay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for waylay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with waylay

Spanish Central: Translation of waylay

Nglish: Translation of waylay for Spanish Speakers

Comments on waylay

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a calculated move

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