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Layman, ‘laity': In short: "laity" means "common people". The English word laity comes from the Greek laikos which meant "of the people", "common" (common, in the meaning "unholy", "unclean" and similar). The related verb laikoô meant "to make common", "to desecrate".


  • 1: a person who is not a member of the clergy
  • 2: a person who does not belong to a particular profession or who is not expert in some field


A layman is a person who is a non-expert in a given field of knowledge. The term originally meant a member of the laity, i.e. a non-clergymen, but over the centuries shifted in definition.

The concept of describing something in layman’s terms has come into wide use in the English speaking world. To put something in layman’s terms is to describe a complex or technical issue using words and terms that the average individual (someone without professional training in the subject area) can understand, so that they may comprehend the issue to some degree.