Definition of lay figure in US English:

lay figure


  • A dummy or jointed manikin of a human body used by artists, especially for arranging drapery on.

    • ‘The monastic painter of course could not do otherwise, unless he used a lay figure (an articulated model).’
    • ‘A number of examples survive from the eighteenth century, including the articulated lay figure used by the sculptor Louis-François Roubiliac, which is in the Museum of London collections.’
    • ‘Articulated wooden lay figures of the kinds sold by artists' suppliers were used for the bodies.’
    • ‘They are lay figures mounted in the museum where all may take them in at a glance.’
    mannequin, manikin, lifelike model, figure
    View synonyms


Late 18th century: from obsolete layman, from Dutch leeman, from obsolete led, earlier form of lid ‘joint’.


lay figure

/lā ˈfiɡyər/