Definition of layman in English:



  • 1A non-ordained male member of a Church:

    ‘he was an active Catholic layman’
    • ‘Gradually, the plays moved outside the church, laymen joined the cast, and Latin was replaced by the vernacular.’
    • ‘"Frere (au) chapeau" (a brother in a hat) referred to a layman or monk not entitled to a hood when escorting a superior of his religious order.’
    • ‘A leading layman in the Presbyterian Church, he held for years the post of honorary director of the Union Theological Seminary.’
    • ‘The priests, pastors, and laymen of this religion are the people of America.’
    • ‘Renditions from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries show a sequence of discrete scenes, including one in which monks and laymen are assembled before an imposing sculpted icon.’
    • ‘In the United States Armenian priests are elected by laymen and ordained by bishops, but confirmed by the Patriarch, who resides in Armenia.’
    • ‘The secular churches were prominent patrons, as were the leading individual laymen and ecclesiastics.’
    • ‘The key to accomplishing this must surely be the biblical training of pastors and active laymen.’
    • ‘In one story, a layman coming to pray at the church places a money offering at the foot of the cross.’
    • ‘Almost immediately, the producers surrendered, agreeing to a strict enforcement of the Code under the administration of a prominent Catholic layman.’
    unordained person, member of the congregation, parishioner
    View synonyms
  • 2A person without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject:

    ‘the book seems well suited to the interested layman’
    • ‘You possess greater knowledge than I do; I am but a poorly educated layman eking out an existence.’
    • ‘But most of it can be understood by the interested layman.’
    • ‘I mean, everything that I found in the library was written, you know, was not in layman's terms, but in medical terms.’
    • ‘Planning law is not easy for laymen to understand, which is evident from your editorial.’
    • ‘Very correctly too, because in layman's language it is a job of work everyone, including the firm that carried it our, can be justifiably proud of.’
    • ‘In layman's terms, that's who got out of the buildings, how they got out, and why.’
    • ‘Third, he made it all accessible to the intelligent layman in simple, lucid English.’
    • ‘This book is written in layman's terms and is, in one sense, easy to read.’
    • ‘And he explained it to me, broke it down in layman's parlance.’
    • ‘He doesn't mince words, and he is able to talk about this in layman's terms that everyone can understand.’
    • ‘I have to say I was somewhat interested in this film which, I was told, was an attempt to explain quantum physics in layman's terms.’
    non-expert, non-professional, amateur, non-specialist, man in the street, man on the street
    View synonyms