lay figure

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Lay figure attributed to Albrecht Dürer


lay figure (plural lay figures)

  1. A jointed model of the human body used by artists, or to display clothes.
    • 1828, JT Smith, Nollekens and His Times, Century Hutchinson 1986, p. 243:
      ‘I have a great mind to break all your gashly images about the head of your fine Miss, in her silks and satins;’—mistaking his lay-figure for a living model of the highest sort.
  2. An unimportant person; a character (especially in fiction) lacking individuality.