Green’s Dictionary of Slang

lay-down n.

1. a sleep.

[US] in S. Massett First Californian Troubador (1954) 25: I sought the comforts of a ‘bath,’ and a ‘lay down’.
[UK]J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 9: He’s in the front room having a bit of a lay-down.
[UK]J. Braine Room at the Top (1959) 89: Your uncle’s having a lay-down.

2. (US) a refusal or collapse [note lay down v. (1)].

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 20: When they finally told [...] that my first trip was to be to St. Louis, I was ready to do a lay-down.

3. a place to sleep; also attrib.

[UK] cited in Partridge DU (1949).
[UK]M. Marshall Travels of Tramp-Royal 96: I want to flop in a swell lay-down with knobs on.
[US]Mad mag. Sept. 41: A last lay-down pad for those that here conked out.

4. (US drugs) the price of admission to enter and smoke in an opium den; thus an opium den [lay down v. (2)].

[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 110: The ‘smoker’ pays $1 a card and $1 for his ‘lay down’ and ‘lay out,’ use of the bunk and opium lamp and pipes.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 123/2: lay-down. The price an addict pays for a lay in a den.

5. (UK Und.) a period of remand in prison.

[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 278: First they’ll give me a laydown at Brixton while they run the rule over me and then remand me to the Old Bailey.
[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 249: Joe’s gone for a lay-down.
[UK] ‘The Pickpocket’ in Encounter n.d. in Norman Norman’s London (1969) 66: The fourpenny snore and the sweeny / Dwell in the box for you. / So nitto, nark it, stoppo, / Or a carpet’s a lay-down for you.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 191: Lay down A remand in custody.
[UK]J. Healy Grass Arena (1990) 105: We saw the head-shrinker at Brixton [...] He put us down as chronic alkies. Then we had a three-week laydown.

6. (US) a certainty [one can lay down money on it].

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks.
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 119: Watch him doddle home, they said. He had the breeding, he had the speed. It ought to be a lay-down.

7. a burial.

[US]Mad mag. Jan.–Feb. 48: Come I to make this gig at Caesar’s lay-down.

In compounds

lay-down misère (n.) [a winning hand in solo whist]

an absolute certainty.

[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 16: ‘Think Tiger will win?’ he asked. ‘He’s a moral,’ I said. ‘A lay-down misere.’.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 60: If, having woken in unfamiliar surroundings, you have no loose change or paper money on your person at all, it’s a lay down misère you’ve been rolled.