lay off

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See also: layoff

English[edit]

Verb[edit]

lay off (third-person singular simple present lays off, present participle laying off, simple past and past participle laid off)

  1. (transitive) (of an employer) To dismiss (workers) from employment, e.g. at a time of low business volume, often with a severance package.
  2. (transitive) (of a bookmaker) To place all or part of a bet with another bookmaker in order to reduce risk.
  3. (transitive, idiomatic) To cease, quit, stop (doing something).
    Lay off the singing, will you! I'm trying to study.
    When are you gonna lay off smoking?
  4. (transitive and intransitive, idiomatic) To stop bothering, annoying, teasing, pestering, pressuring, being aggressive with, or hovering over someone; to leave (someone) alone.
    Just lay off, okay! I've had enough!
    Things have been better since the boss has been laying off a little.
    I told him to lay off me but he wouldn't stop.
    Lay off it, already!

Usage notes[edit]

  • In the first two transitive senses the object can come before or after the particle (laid off the whole department). If the object is a pronoun, then it must come before the particle (laid them off).
  • In the final two idiomatic "cease" senses, all objects, including pronouns, come after the complete phrase (lay off me!).

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