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See also: Belay


Etymology 1[edit]

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



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

  1. (nautical, climbing, transitive, intransitive) To make (a rope) fast by turning it around a fastening point such as a cleat or piton.
  2. (transitive) To secure (a person) to a rope or (a rope) to a person.
    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.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Derived terms[edit]


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.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]




  1. simple past tense of belie (encompass)


  • belay at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • belay in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911