la·​ity ˈlā-ə-tē How to pronounce laity (audio)
: the people of a religious faith as distinguished from its clergy
The laity has played an important role in the history of the church.
: the mass of the people as distinguished from those of a particular profession or those specially skilled
writers who can interpret this wholeness both to their colleagues and the laityP. B. Sears

Examples of laity in a Sentence

a member of the laity The laity has played an important role in the history of the church.
Recent Examples on the Web Following the decision, a crisis of continuity has arisen between the UOC, the Russian Orthodox Church, and those clerics and laity who have assumed the name Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Timothy H.j. Nerozzi Fox News, Fox News, 25 Oct. 2023 The Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace, a group of Catholic clergy and laity in India, wrote a letter to Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai urging bishops to attend to the increasing attacks by far-right Hindu nationalist groups against Indian Christians, according to Crux Now. Fox News, 18 Feb. 2022 The event, which drew roughly 80 clergy and laity from across the Central Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Arkansas, was held at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Conway. Frank E. Lockwood, Arkansas Online, 2 Sep. 2023 From this perspective, halachah is a partnership between the laity and the rabbinate, with the laity playing a critical role in the halachic process. Rabbi Avi Weiss, Sun Sentinel, 9 May 2022 The Vatican's laity office cracked down on the largely unregulated world of international associations of the faithful after some cases of abuses of authority and bad governance had been reported. Nicole Winfield, Star Tribune, 11 June 2021 And concerning public policy, the laity plays a crucial role in deciphering situations and conditions and helping apply them to halachah. Rabbi Avi Weiss, Sun Sentinel, 9 May 2022 Delegates are to be seated at round tables, with around a dozen laity and clergy mixed together in the Vatican’s big auditorium. Nicole Winfield,, 20 June 2023 The position is currently held by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the head of the Vatican’s laity office. Nicole Winfield, ajc, 7 June 2023

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

Word History


lay entry 5

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near laity

Cite this Entry

“Laity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


la·​ity ˈlā-ət-ē How to pronounce laity (audio)
plural laities
: the people of a religious faith who are not members of its clergy
: persons not of a particular profession

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