Word Confusion: Lay Out versus Layout

Posted April 17, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions

It’s verb versus noun in this Word Confusion. Lay out your ideas and check the layout to see what you’d like to change.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Lay Out Layout
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Merriam-Webster: lay out; Dictionary.com: layout

Workers spreading nets under olive trees

“The Olive Nets” is Freideriki Dionysopoulou’s own work is under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Laying out olive nets to catch the harvest.

A model train layout that shows the line that connects the mine to the narrow gauge.

“Mine 2” is Mrgmag’s own work under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Just one of many model train layouts I found.

Part of Grammar:
Transitive Verb Phrase

Third person present verb: lays out
Past tense or past participle: laid out
Gerund or present participle: laying out

Plural for noun: layouts
Display, exhibit

[Informal] Spend

To prepare a corpse for viewing

To knock flat or unconscious

To plan in detail lay out a campaign

Arrange, design

To mark work for drilling, machining, or filing

The way in which the parts of something are arranged or laid out

  • [Advertising, publishing, etc.] The way in which text or pictures are set out on a page
  • [Journalism, etc.] The process of setting out material on a page or in a work
    • Spread
  • A thing arranged or set out in a particular way
  • [In diving and gymnastics] A position in which the body is extended, the head upright, the legs held straight and together, and the arms held out to the sides
  • A place
    • House
    • Living arrangements
  • Place, equipment, apparatus, etc, for a particular purpose

[Informal] A place, as of residence or business and the features that go with it

  • A setup

[Informal] A display or spread, as of dishes at a meal

Marianne is amazing at laying out a display.

Next door laid out big bucks for that riding lawn mower.

Have you laid out Mrs. Jones for her viewing yet?

Muhammed Ali laid him out with one punch!

We need to lay out our campaign carefully to take full advantage of the war chest.

You can save a lot of money when furnishing a room, if you lay out a mockup of it all first.

Lay out your plans for building that cat tree so you know what to buy at the hardware store.

Nice layout you got here.

If you want to add this, we’ll have to change the layout of the ground floor.

The layout is uncluttered and the illustrations are helpful.

Eddie’s doing layout for tomorrow’s edition.

This is such a great a model railroad layout.

Simone Biles had a great layout in the 2016 Olympic Games.

This is some fancy layout with the swimming pool and a tennis court.

You didn’t have to go to all this trouble for dinner with this fancy layout!?

We should lay out a backup plan in case anything goes wrong.

History of the Word:
First known use: 15th century An Americanism from 1840-50 as a noun, using the verb phrase lay out.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Different layouts for “Dvorak“, the “QWERTY“, and Xah Lee’s “Workman Layout” keyboards.