Definition of layman in US English:



  • 1A nonordained male member of a Church.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The key to accomplishing this must surely be the biblical training of pastors and active laymen.’
    • ‘The priests, pastors, and laymen of this religion are the people of America.’
    • ‘He was an active Catholic layman and served as figurehead president of the Empire State Building Corporation headed by a prominent Democrat.’
    • ‘In the United States Armenian priests are elected by laymen and ordained by bishops, but confirmed by the Patriarch, who resides in Armenia.’
    • ‘A leading layman in the Presbyterian Church, he held for years the post of honorary director of the Union Theological Seminary.’
    • ‘The secular churches were prominent patrons, as were the leading individual laymen and ecclesiastics.’
    • ‘Well, a chaplain, by anybody's dictionary, is a person - clergyman or layman - who conducts a service in a chapel.’
    • ‘Recognizing I am no more qualified to deal with this subject than any Christian layman, I am turning to the opinions of the Rev.’
    • ‘"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.’
    • ‘Gradually, the plays moved outside the church, laymen joined the cast, and Latin was replaced by the vernacular.’
    • ‘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.’
    unordained person, member of the congregation, parishioner
    layperson, unordained person, member of the congregation, parishioner
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  • 2A person without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject.

    ‘the book seems well suited to the interested layman’
    • ‘What that means in layman's terms is that clouds of vapor could come over the edge of the crater, roll down the sides of the volcano.’
    • ‘While the technology is complex and hard to explain in layman's terms, I'll try to put it most simply.’
    • ‘This is an excellent summary of the state of research in this area - or at least it appears so to this interested layman.’
    • ‘He also noted the difficulty of addressing the competing interests of layman and specialist in his text.’
    • ‘Wherever possible, recount personal experiences, direct observations, and specialized knowledge, and try to convey these things in layman's terms.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And he explained it to me, broke it down in layman's parlance.’
    • ‘I mean, everything that I found in the library was written, you know, was not in layman's terms, but in medical terms.’
    • ‘But most of it can be understood by the interested layman.’
    • ‘He said: ‘It affects the head of the femur, or, in layman's terms, the ball of the ball-and-socket joint, effectively causing this to die and then re-model itself’.’
    • ‘Now, I suspect that your answer to this question may lose the rest of us, but in layman's terms, we heard talk about vaccines against cancer.’
    • ‘This book is written in layman's terms and is, in one sense, easy to read.’
    • ‘Third, he made it all accessible to the intelligent layman in simple, lucid English.’
    • ‘Yet politicians, bureaucrats, professionals and layman alike have immense faith in him.’
    • ‘And that in layman's language is about the survival of the professional game in Ireland.’
    • ‘Other ailments include dental caris (dental cavities in layman's parlance), periodontitis or swelling of the gums and oral cancer.’
    • ‘For professional and layman alike, this thoughtful and accessible volume is a good place to start.’
    • ‘To speak of the Holocaust demanded great humility, which almost everyone exercised - artist and layman alike.’
    • ‘He mentioned the pneumococcal vaccine, which of course, in layman's term, you told me, the pneumonia vaccine.’
    • ‘Yet the real conflict remains between layman and expert, parent and professor, heart and head.’
    • ‘Planning law is not easy for laymen to understand, which is evident from your editorial.’
    • ‘You possess greater knowledge than I do; I am but a poorly educated layman eking out an existence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Any techies out there who want to confirm or refute this layman's assessment?’
    • ‘He doesn't mince words, and he is able to talk about this in layman's terms that everyone can understand.’
    • ‘I'm no expert at all on this subject - I've read a few books that have touched on the issue, but I'm basically just a mildly informed layman on this.’
    non-expert, non-professional, amateur, non-specialist, man in the street, man on the street
    non-expert, layperson, non-professional, amateur, non-specialist, man in the street, man on the street
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