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See also: Belay


The woman in yellow is belaying a climber (not pictured)

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English beleggen, bileggen, from Old English beleċġan (to cover, invest, surround, afflict, attribute to, charge with, accuse), From Proto-West Germanic *bilaggjan, equivalent to be- (about, around) +‎ lay. Cognate with Dutch beleggen (to cover, overlay, belay), German belegen (to cover, occupy, belay), Swedish belägga (to pave).


  • Verb:
    • (US) IPA(key): /bɪˈleɪ/
    • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbiːleɪ/, /bɪˈleɪ/
      • (file)
    • Rhymes: -eɪ, (UK) -iːleɪ
  • Noun:


belay (third-person singular simple present belays, present participle belaying, simple past and past participle belayed or belaid)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, nautical) To make (a rope) fast by turning it around a fastening point such as a cleat.
  2. (transitive, climbing) To handle a climbing rope to prevent (a climber) from falling to the ground.
    He would need an experienced partner to belay him on the difficult climbs.
  3. (transitive) To lay aside; stop; cancel.
    I could only hope the remaining piton would belay his fall.
    Belay that order!
  4. (intransitive, nautical) The general command to stop or cease.
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To surround; environ; enclose.
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To overlay; adorn.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To besiege; invest; surround.
  8. (transitive, obsolete) To lie in wait for in order to attack; block up or obstruct.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


belay (plural belays)

  1. (climbing) The securing of a rope to a rock or other projection.
  2. (climbing) The object to which a rope is secured.
  3. (climbing) A location at which a climber stops and builds an anchor with which to secure their partner.
    • 1967, Anthony Greenbank, Instructions in Mountaineering, page 84:
      But instead of swapping over at the ice axe belay, you carry on in the lead, cutting or kicking steps until you are about twenty feet above.
Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]




  1. simple past of belie (encompass)