the lay of the land


the lay of the land
Lay Lay, n. 1. That which lies or is laid or is conceived of as having been laid or placed in its position; a row; a stratum; a layer; as, a lay of stone or wood. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

A viol should have a lay of wire strings below. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

Note: The lay of a rope is right-handed or left-handed according to the hemp or strands are laid up. See {Lay}, v. t., 16. The lay of land is its topographical situation, esp. its slope and its surface features. [1913 Webster]

2. A wager. ``My fortunes against any lay worth naming.'' [1913 Webster]

3. (a) A job, price, or profit. [Prov. Eng.] --Wright. (b) A share of the proceeds or profits of an enterprise; as, when a man ships for a whaling voyage, he agrees for a certain lay. [U. S.] [1913 Webster]

4. (Textile Manuf.) (a) A measure of yarn; a lea. See 1st {Lea} (a) . (b) The lathe of a loom. See {Lathe}, 3. [1913 Webster]

5. A plan; a scheme. [Slang] --Dickens. [1913 Webster]

{Lay figure}. (a) A jointed model of the human body that may be put in any attitude; -- used for showing the disposition of drapery, etc. (b) A mere puppet; one who serves the will of others without independent volition.

{Lay race}, that part of a lay on which the shuttle travels in weaving; -- called also {shuttle race}.

{the lay of the land}, the general situation or state of affairs.

{to get the lay of the land}, to learn the general situation or state of affairs, especially in preparation for action. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • the lay of the land — the lay (Brit. lie) of the land the way in which the features or characteristics of an area present themselves ■ figurative the current situation or state of affairs she was beginning to see the lay of the land with her in laws * * * the lay of… …   Useful english dictionary

  • (the) lay of the land — the lay of the land american phrase the lie of the land Thesaurus: general words for situations and circumstancessynonym views and landscapessynonym difficult situations and experiencessynonym Main entry …   Useful english dictionary

  • the lay of the land — ► the lie (N. Amer. lay) of the land 1) the features or characteristics of an area. 2) the current situation or state of affairs. Main Entry: ↑lie …   English terms dictionary

  • (the) lay of the land — the way a situation has been arranged or has developed. If you see them together, you don t have to be a detective to understand the lay of the land …   New idioms dictionary

  • the lie of the land — ► the lie (N. Amer. lay) of the land 1) the features or characteristics of an area. 2) the current situation or state of affairs. Main Entry: ↑lie …   English terms dictionary

  • The Lay of the Land — infobox Book | name = The Lay of the Land title orig = translator = caption = First edition cover author = Richard Ford cover artist = country = United States language = English series = genre = publisher = Knopf release date = October 2006 media …   Wikipedia

  • the lay of the land — See get the lay of the land …   English idioms

  • the lay of the land — American the lie of the land …   English dictionary

  • lay of the land — the disposition of circumstances which one is considering wanted to know more about the lay of the land before investing * * * the general state or condition of affairs under consideration; the facts of a situation: We asked a few questions to… …   Useful english dictionary

  • lay of the land — also[how the land lies] {n. phr.} 1. The natural features of a piece of land, such as hills and valleys. * /The style of house the contractor builds depends partly on the lay of the land./ 2. The way something is arranged; the important facts… …   Dictionary of American idioms


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