Definition of lay about someone in US English:

lay about someone

phrasal verb

British
  • Beat or attack someone violently.

    ‘they weren't against laying about you with sticks and stones’
    • ‘Dancers, casting aside their cloaks, revealed themselves as lightly armored fighters who drew all manner of weapons and began laying about them with a will.’
    • ‘The guards laid about them, striking men and women with the flats of their swords.’
    • ‘They laid about him with the back of their axes and overwhelmed him with stones and (thigh) bones and ox heads.’