lay into v.
1. to attack physically.
|Fool of Quality II 146: He furiously snatched the Rod from him, and began to lay at Ned with might and main.|
|Clockmaker I 157: They all bawled out, haul him off, and lay it into him.|
|Men of Character II 93: I shall be very happy [...] if you contemplate horsewhipping any body, to go and hold the door, while you lay into the ruffian .|
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 13/2: He laid into his nag unmercifully.|
|Dundee Advertiser 18 July 2/2: They [...] laid about them with their truncheons.|
|Wolfville 166: Females [...] is nervous that a-way and, an’ due any time to let their ha’r down their backs, emit a screech, an’ claw an’ lay for each other.|
|Boy’s Own Paper 11 Mar. 372: Lay into it, my lads.|
|Marvel 15 May 14: Biggleton and the missus were to go down and lay about them with a pair of twopenny bladders.|
|Gem 30 Mar. 8: ‘Go it, Spooney!’ cried Manners. ‘Lay into him!’.|
|L.A. Herald 10 Dec. 10/5: ‘Miss Heffelfinger got Sharkey, the Australian boomerang thrower, to lay for pop, an’ pop took out for the station’.‘Our Theatrical Boarding House’ in|
|Somewhere in Red Gap 123: The old one had a scar [...] It’s where his old man laid into him once, when he was a kid.|
|Union Jack 5 May 18: Lay on to the swab, Puggy, my lad!|
|Living Rough 167: They laid into him wi’ bottles.|
|Bound for Glory (1969) 135: He laid it into Big Jim like a young mule kicking a clumsy old cow.|
|(con. 1912) George Brown’s Schooldays 77: The Bruiser had first shot [...] laying in with all his might with the leather end of a brassie.|
|I, Mobster 8: Looking for someone to lay into with his nightstick.|
|Adolescent Boys of East London (1969) 64: My younger brother’s a pest. I’ve thought of laying into him sometimes.|
|Frying-Pan 2: I laid into him. I hit him and hit him.|
|London Fields 5: Dean Pleat soon vaulted back over the counter and self-righteously laid into the woman with his rifle butt.|
|Eve. Standard mag. 4 June 24: She heard Aisha shouting, ‘You are stupid’, as she laid about the GP.|
|Guardian Guide 18–24 Mar. 52: I go laying into the little fuckers ... Cut their throats.|
2. to start eating in a voracious manner.
|Van (1998) 545: One of them would do a legger back to Bimbo’s while the customers were laying into the main course and get the ice-cream out of the fridge and hoof it back.|
3. to attack verbally.
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 712: He tells the people what’s what. He lays into the bankers, too.Judgement Day in|
|Savage Night (1991) 97: There was nothing you could do that someone didn’t laugh at you or lay into you.|
|(con. late 1960s) Spend, Spend, Spend (1978) 204: When Gary got back home Steve laid into him.|
|London Embassy 75: I’d lay into him – I’d lose my temper.|
|Happy Like Murderers 272: She’d still be shouting and bawling. Yelling and laying into them and going ballistic.|
|A Steady Rain I i: So Denny’s [...] laying into me for dumping on his conspicuously acquisitive lifestyle again.|