Definition of laity in English:

laity

noun

  • 1usually treated as plural Lay people, as distinct from the clergy.

    • ‘In many cases it is being done by co-opting both the clergy and the laity, giving them no alternative except to acquiesce.’
    • ‘Today divorced and remarried clergy and laity serve the church faithfully as full partners.’
    • ‘Groups of clergy and laity are forming to ‘take back the church’ and to democratize it.’
    • ‘In times of crisis, leaders are needed who can inspire both clergy and laity.’
    • ‘For the sake of successful cooperation the respective responsibilities of clergy and laity must be clearly demarcated.’
    • ‘They hope to raise enough support to force the issue when Greek Orthodox clergy and laity convene next year in Los Angeles.’
    • ‘Some of our parishes are dull little affairs presided over by a fearful clergy and laity.’
    • ‘I am rather asserting that the laity feels that church leadership does not know what it is talking about.’
    • ‘Clergy and laity in the western U.S. had sought clarity on the issue.’
    • ‘For all clergy and laity who wish to talk about ‘the church in exile,’ this book is a must read.’
    • ‘The bishops - together with the laity and clergy - should be part of the creation of a healthy, revitalized church.’
    • ‘People - laity and clergy - want to have a voice in who leads their diocese and how that leader functions.’
    • ‘Dr Ryan has emphasised throughout his period as bishop the importance of involving the laity in parish and church affairs.’
    • ‘In a church rich with religious orders, it is peculiar for someone to write as if the Roman clergy and laity did not know the difference.’
    • ‘In Communist times, Catholic clergy and laity who did not convert to Orthodoxy were imprisoned in labor camps and often murdered.’
    • ‘Each will create a blurring of the boundaries between clergy and laity.’
    • ‘We need a learned clergy and a learned laity to meet the demands and challenges of local church and community life and of being God's people in the world.’
    • ‘An important reason for this stance was the view, widespread among both the laity and church leaders, that the Jews were a danger to society.’
    • ‘Still, some way must be found for the clergy and laity of the world to be involved in the choice.’
    • ‘Further, the council called on the entire church to evangelize the modern world through renewal of the laity's role.’
    parishioners, parish, churchgoers, flock, fold, faithful, following, followers, adherents, believers, loyal members, fellowship, communicants, brethren, brothers and sisters, souls
    View synonyms
  • 2usually treated as plural Ordinary people, as distinct from professionals or experts.

    • ‘Never did Shaw speak a truer word, that all professions are conspiracies against the laity.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from lay + -ity.

Pronunciation

laity

/ˈleɪɪti/