Green’s Dictionary of Slang

lay v.1

1. to have sexual intercourse with.

[UK]Wife Lapped in Morrelles Skin in Hazlitt Early Popular Poetry IV line 547: I could not lye still, nor rest take me: Sometimes on my syde and sometimes on my backe He rolde and layd me.
[UK]Jonson Alchemist IV v: Nay, you must never hope to lay her now.
[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Coxcomb I vi: I’ll [...] lay you fast enough.
[UK] ‘Honest Mens Resolution’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) II 199: Let’s lay ’um, sayes Nat, and splay ’um sayes Wat.
[UK]J. Phillips Maronides (1678) VI 141: Where Agamemnon lay’d his Psyche.
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 23: The Hue and Cry, to shun, we crept, / in Hedges where we lay’d. / To the Brokers then my Hedge-bird flies.
[UK]Correct List of the Sporting Ladies [broadsheet] If looking on shou’d you surprize, / And cause your Penis for to rise, / A bargain strike, and we’ll agree / To lay the same immediately.
[Ire] ‘Fight your Cock in the Morning’ Luke Caffrey’s Gost 7: She twig it away, stand your lay, / Fight your Cock of a rainy day.
[UK] ‘The Mot Of Fleet Street’ Frisky Vocalist 31: Oh! what a delicious thing / By a swell on the bed to be laid.
[US] ‘The Bucking Bronco’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) xx: Beware of a cowboy who swings the rawhide, / He’ll love you, he’ll lay you, then one day he’ll go.
[US]J.H. O’Hara in Bruccoli Sel. Letters 40: She’s probably going out with a guy whom she likes and whom she doesn’t lay but whom she wants to lay.
[US]H. Roth Call It Sleep (1977) 411: Every time I sees a pretty cunt come walkin’ up de street [...] I says, dere’s a mare I’d radder lay den lay on.
[US]R. Chandler Lady in the Lake (1952) 13: He’s a no-good son of a bitch who thinks it is smart to lay his friends’ wives and brag about it.
[US]Kerouac On the Road (The Orig. Scroll) (2007) 231: He wanted me to lay Louanna.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 89: How would you like it if people came in on you, laid your girls and then wanted to put it on the cuff?
[UK]T. Taylor Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 49: If it’s not a friendly discussion it’s trying to lay a chick, and if it’s not that it’s probably having a good old smoke up in the carzy.
[US]B. Hecht Gaily, Gaily 51: A man would have to be a hundred per cent crazy before he could want to lay Irma.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 31: He is probably more careful about laying girls.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 97: I loved power. Sexual power. I laid half the boys at St. Vibiana’s.

2. to make oneself available for sexual relations; also constr. with for.

[UK]J. Ray Proverbs (2nd edn) 56: I’ve cur’d her from laying i’th’hedge, quoth the good man when he had wed his daughter.
[US]‘J.M. Hall’ Anecdota Americana I 172: [He] persuaded her, with the aid of a silver dollar and an imitation diamond ring to lay for him.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Johnny Slice’s Stoolie’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 78: She ain’t layin’ for all the ten-year-olds in your block.
[US]J. Berryman 77 Dream Songs 15: You can biff me, you can bang me, get it you’ll never. / I may be only a Polack broad but I don’t lay easy.

In phrases

get laid (v.)

(orig. US) to have sexual intercourse; thus unlaid, used of those who have not had intercourse.

[US]J.H. O’Hara letter 1 Nov. in Bruccoli Sel. Letters 25: First I must get laid [...] I haven’t had any poontang since I was in Germany.
[US](con. 1917) ‘W.W. Windstaff’ ‘A Flier’s War’ in Longstreet Canvas Falcons (1970) 282: We’re going to Paris to [...] drink, eat, sleep, and get laid.
[US]J. Weidman I Can Get It For You Wholesale 154: I wasn’t that hard up. If I wanted to get laid, I knew where to go.
[US]I. Shulman Amboy Dukes 35: We sure had us a time tonight, Getting laid and everything.
[US]F. Brookhouser Now I Lay Me Down 29: Look, I want to get laid.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 93: Tralala was 15 the first time she was laid.
[US]L. Bruce How to Talk Dirty 26: Lonesome men that belonged to The Great Army of the Unlaid.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 10: I used to get laid in Central Park.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 112: I could not help but wonder on this night of all the talent getting well and truly laid.
[US]W.T. Vollmann Whores for Gloria 38: So get laid or jerk off, said Code Six.
[US]C. Fleming High Concept 82: Short, fat, ugly kids who couldn’t get laid in high school.
[UK]J. Poller Reach 37: Those who tote them around on the off-chance that they might get laid never in actuality do.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 8 Jan. 3: It was where all the spare men could go and get laid by Martian women.
[US]H. Dowd ‘Crazy Summer’ 🌐 I still hadn’t been laid even though I had convinced a couple of the girls I dated to jerk me off.
[Aus]D. McDonald Luck in the Greater West (2008) 88: Abdullah had promised that he’d get him laid.
[UK](ref. to 1963) K. Richards Life 138: Six months ago I couldn’t get laid.
[US]T. Robinson Rough Trade [ebook] ‘I just needed…’ She paused, trying to find more elegant words for to get laid.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Shore Leave 10: Plans were being hatched around the best places to get laid.
laid, relaid and parlayed (US)

1. (US black) to make explicit.

[US]‘Digg Mee’ ‘Observation Post’ in N.Y. Age 13 Sept. 9/7: This is x-rayed, relayed and parlayed for you, and especially for you [ibid.] 13 Dec. 9/6: This jive is layed, parlayed, x-rayed, but never delayed.

2. having had frequent or protracted sexual intercourse.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS 311/2: laid, relaid, and parlayed 1. To experience something thoroughly; to dispense with all, esp. sexual restrictions.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 3: Puerto Ricans been gettin’ jammed since the forties [...] We been laid, relayed, and waylaid and nobody wants to hear about it.
Vail Trail 18 Mar. 🌐 Even the nerds from the engineering school were down in Cancun getting laid, relayed and parlayed, all on their parents’ dime.

3. absolutely deceived, cheated.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS 311/2: laid, relaid, and parlayed 2. Completely deceived, cheated, or taken advantage of.
lay bricks (v.)

(US) to have sexual intercourse.

[US]J.T. Farrell Gas-House McGinty 266: You’re Francis, the one and only original coose man. Before Adam laid bricks with Eve, you was.
lay it on the line (v.)

(US) to have sexual intercourse.

[US]F. Brown Dead Ringer 21: ‘Your cooch shows would be strips, and with little tents pitched in back for the customers who really wanted to lay it on the line after the–’ ‘Who,’ I said, ‘gave you the idea carney girls are whores?’.
[US]C. Howard ‘Enough Rope for Two’ in Best of Manhunt (2019) [ebook] ‘I’ll lay it on the line for you, Maxie, [...] I figure I’m entitled to that dough more than you’.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 175: Sometimes I got a nickel and sometimes I got a dime, / But when I got a quarter, Lulu lays it on the line.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 102: Does she put out? Lay it on the line? Do the deed?
[UK]L. Mantell Murder and Chips 81: He sounded a trifle regretful that Sheila had not laid it on the line with him.
lay off with (v.)

(Aus.) to have sex with.

[US]Flash (N.Y.) 10 July 1/2–3: Moll Quiff — What do you mean by writing to me in that style, you India rubber harlot? What do I know about your George’s and your Jem’s, and your Dick’s, and your Harry’s. I believe you lay off with a thousand of ’em.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 194: You like laying off with girls better than anything in the world, don’t you?
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 63: I think she’s in love with every bloke she lays off with.
[Aus]Penguin Bk of All-New Aus. Jokes 130: ‘I’ve got bad news. I have to lay you or Jack off.’ And Debra replied: ‘Would you mind jacking off? I’ve got a terrible headache.’.
lay the leg (v.)

1. to have sexual intercourse.

[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Captain IV iii: [She] is the best, that e’re man laid his leg o’er.
[UK]T. Duffet Psyche Debauch’d III i: The delicat’st bit of Man’s meat that e’er lips weer laid to, or legs laid over.
[UK] ‘Satire to Julian’ in Wilson Court Satires of the Restoration (1976) 88: For bugg’ring of a rotten door, I’d rather famed be, / Than lay leg o’er that painted whore.
[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 29/1: LAY THE LEG. Have sexual intercourse.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 123/1: Lay the leg. To engage in an act of sexual intercourse.

2. (US prison) to sodomize.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 27: lay the leg (v.): Intercourse (probably pedication) with a boy or man. (Slang.).
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 88: anal intercourse [...] lay the leg (kwn black & prison sl).
lay up with (v.)

(US) to have sexual intercourse with.

[US]Hecht & Bodenheim Cutie 46: We will stop first at my little love nest and lay up for a few repairs.
[US]W. Smith Bessie Cotter 58: He don’t lay up with no dame.
[US] ‘The Castration of the Strawberry Roan’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 92: I was layin’ round town in a house of ill fame, / Laid up with a rough, tough hustlin’ dame, / When a hop-headed pimp with his nose full of coke / Beat me outta that woman and left me stone broke.
[US]C. Loken Come Monday Morning 107: Man it’d kill her if she ever knew he was layin’ up with somebody else.
[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 34: layin’-up [...] ‘She ain’t my girlfriend; I’ve just been layin’-up with her’.

SE in slang uses

In phrases


see also under relevant n. or adj.

lay an egg (v.) [RAF sl. lay an egg, drop a bomb. The link with US bomb n. (9) may be coincidental. Note Variety headline the morning after the 1929 Crash, ‘Wall Street Lays an Egg’]

1. to fail completely, esp. in show business.

[Aus]Bird o’ Freedom (Sydney) 14 Feb. 5/3: ‘Go forth, my friends, into the wide world, and tell all mankind that at last I have produced something, I have Laid An Egg.’ And they looked and they saw a hollow shell full of wind and water.
[US]W. Winchell Your Broadway & Mine 27 Dec. [synd. col.] A floperoo called ‘These Few Ashes’ [...] laid an egg.
[US]Phila. Inquirer 16 June n.p.: To ‘be laid an egg’ is the sad fate of one who has been completely crushed, outwitted, defeated.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 10 Jan. [synd. col.] I hope you lay an egg so big that hens, for miles around, will be conscripted to hatch it.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Red Wind’ in Red Wind (1946) 51: You haven’t murdered anybody, the way you tell it, but you laid an egg down at police headquarters.
[US]C. Sandburg letter 7 Feb. in Mitgang (1968) 438: I have laid an egg in the shape of another long chaotic book.
[US]Green & Laurie Show Biz from Vaude to Video 81: But laying an egg was better than being hit by one.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 116: They’re waiting for you to lay an egg.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett White Shoes 83: Les figured out why Crystal’s last two records had laid a giant egg.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 7 Mar. 1: We did it on the stage tour in Southampton where it laid a total egg.

2. (Aus./N.?.) to worry, to be agitated.

[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 17: All right, don’t lay an egg. I’m coming as fast as I can.
[NZ]H. Beaton Outside In 37: No need to lay an egg, Ma.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 126: lay an egg 1. Make a fuss.

3. (N.Z.) to defecate.

[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.
lay a patch (v.) (also lay a batch) [the tyres leave a patch on the road]

(US) to make tyre marks by accelerating fast in a car.

[US]Current Sl. I:2 4/1: Lay a batch (patch), v. Leave black tire marks during acceleration.
[UK]J. Mowry Way Past Cool 21: The car laid a patch and warped away.
[US]N. Stephenson Cryptonomicon 647: And then they were gone; resisting the urge to lay a patch until they were a couple of blocks distant.
lay aside (v.)

(Aus.) to knock out.

[NZ]Wanganui Herald 18 Feb. 2/9: Professor West, of New Zealand, was ‘laid aside’ in Sydney [...] in a round a a half.
lay back (v.)

see separate entry.

lay back and front shops into one (v.)

see under shop n.1

lay cane upon abel (v.) [pun on the biblical brothers Cain and Abel]

to beat, to thrash.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Cane upon Abel a good Stick or Cudgel well-favoredly laid on a Man’s Shoulders.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Cane, to lay cane upon Abel. to beat any one with a Cane or Stick.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd edn, 3rd edn) n.p.: To lay Cane upon Abel; to beat any one with a cane or stick.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[Scot]Life and Trial of James Mackcoull 40: He had got an Indorsation from a Kenchin-cove [sic] in Edinburgh, who laid Cain on Abel so smartly, that he lost his balance.
lay dead (v.)

1. (US black) to wait.

[US]H. Blossom Checkers 57: They’ve been laying dead with it all the meeting [...] but to-day they’ve got him in a good soft spot.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 148: I’ve got to let him lay dead for a week or ten days to give him time to cover it with a beard, as well as show a better haircut.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Lily of St. Pierre’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 139: He can lay dead there till things blow over.
[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 9: Chappie you lay dead here we are going inside and make with some African golf and if the nabbers are in existence come on with the shout ‘Cool off the nabbers are about.’.
[US] ‘Hepster’s Dict.’ Mad mag. June 20: lay dead – wait .
[US]C. Himes Blind Man with a Pistol (1971) 139: Just lay dead and let the race leaders handle it.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 20: File the window dividers [...] get ’em thin enough to kick out, then lay dead for a foggy night.

2. to do nothing, to stop everything.

[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 219: I’m gonna lay dead till half past the unlucky comes on.
[US]Esquire Nov. 70: lay dead: to wait.To stay in one place, don’t move.
[US](con. 1940s) Malcolm X Autobiog. (1968) 227: After a month of ‘laying dead’, as inactivity was called, I knew I had to get some kind of hustle going.
[US]J. Horton ‘Time and cool people’ in Trans-action 4 6/1: The dudes could be found when they were ‘laying dead’ — hanging on the corner, or shooting pool and ‘jiving’ (‘goofing’ or kidding around) in a local community project.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 244: lay dead 1. Do nothing. 2. Stop everything.
lay down

see separate entries.

lay giggy (v.) [? gig n.8 (1)]

(US juv.) to keep a lookout.

[US] (ref. to 1930s) ADS-L 22 Feb. 🌐 A letter appeared in this morning’s (Thursday’s) Daily News asking for ‘where and how certain expressions started’ that the writer, ‘an old geezer’ from the Red Hook area of Brooklyn, remembers. ‘When were were kids in the early 30’s — and sneakily shooting dice in the street — we would have a lookout stationed at a strategic spot. This lookout would be classified as “laying giggy”.’.
lay in(to)

see separate entries.

lay it on (v.)

see separate entry.

lay-off (n.)

see separate entry.

lay on (v.)

see separate entry.

lay one on someone (v.)

see under one n.1

lay one’s ass on the table (v.)

(US) to be frank.

[US]E. Torres Q&A 85: Play it straight down the middle. Ass on the table. You do your job, you can’t get hurt.
[US]S. Longstreet Straw Boss (1979) 320: Why don’t we lay our asses on the table.
lay (on) the hip (v.) [the usu. posture for smoking opium is to lie on one’s side]

(US) to smoke opium.

[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 22: He could ‘lay the hip’ every afternoon and float on the wings of the poppy.
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl. 30: laying/lying on the hip – an opium smoker [...] the act of smoking opium.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Anslinger & Tompkins Traffic In Narcotics 311: lay the hip. To smoke opium.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore 100: Lay on the hip – To smoke opium.
lay out

see separate entry.

lay pit and boxes into one (v.) [orig. theatrical jargon. ‘A simile borrowed from the playhouse, when for the benefit of some favourite player, the pit and boxes are laid together’ (Grose)]

to remove the physical division between the vagina and the anus.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Pit. To lay pit and boxes into one; an operation in midwifery, whereby the division between the anus and vagina is cut through, broken, and demolished: a simile borrowed from the playhouse, when, for the benefit of some favourite player, the pit and boxes are laid together.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn) n.p.: Pit. To lay pit and boxes into one; an operation in midwifery or copulation, whereby [etc. as 1785].
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1796].
in Egan’s Grose [as cit. 1796].
lay rubber (v.) (also lay tread, lay wheels) [the rubber leaves a mark on the road]

(US) to drive off at speed, spinning the wheels as one accelerates away.

[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 104: I got cut out. Peel out, lay rubber.
[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Short Timers (1985) 139: The poge colonel’s Mighty Mite lays rubber.
[US]Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 113: A driver [...] lays wheels by abruptly driving off to the accompaniment of loud exhaust pipes and screeching tires.
[US]T. Wolfe Bonfire of the Vanities 403: She guns the motor and she cuts outta there, laying down rubber.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 113: He would lay some rubber.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 155: The cops punched the gas. They laid tread and pursued.
[US]‘Randy Everhard’ Tattoo of a Naked Lady 243: I laid some rubber on the main drag.
lay (some) iron (v.) (also lay some hot iron) [the metal cleats on a tap-dancer’s shoes]

(US black) to tap-dance, esp. as a professional.

[US]Cab Calloway New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) 257: lay some iron (v.): to tap dance. Ex., ‘Jack, you really laid some iron that last show!’.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 210: That kid would sit in a chair and lay more iron that a lot of the best dancers who stood up and beat the boards in Harlem.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) Décharné Straight from the Fridge Dad 120: Lay some hot iron Dance really well.