1 : a person who is not a member of the clergy
2 : a person who does not belong to a particular profession or who is not expert in some field
Did You Know?
Layman began its run in English as the open compound lay man. In this context, lay is an adjective that can mean "belonging or relating to those not in holy orders," "not of the clergy," and "not ecclesiastical." The origins of lay and layman can be traced back through French and Late Latin to Greek laikos, meaning "of the people." Layman was originally used to distinguish between non-clerical people and the clergy, but it was soon also being used to distinguish non-professionals from professionals in a field (such as law or medicine). The phrase layman’s terms is used to refer to simple language about a topic that even non-experts in the field can understand.
The Nobel laureate's book is an introduction to astrophysics that, despite its depth and detail, remains accessible to the layman.
"One of my favorite genres of Catholic literature is the book-length interview: the Pope or some other high-ranking churchman sits down with a reporter or other layman, both operating on the assumption that conversation tends toward truth." — Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 16 Apr. 2018
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of layman: CLEASRU.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP