The origin of the Term Layman
“A person who does not belong to a particular profession or who is not expert in some field.” ‘Amateur’ ‘Secular’. It also has a somewhat less commonly known meaning of “a person who is not a member of the clergy”, which is its original definition. Layman derived from the two existing words “lay” (from the Old French “lai”, meaning “secular”) and “man”, hence the “non-cleric” meaning.
One of the Laity
If you are a member of a religious group, but you are not an ordained minister or priest, then you are a member of the laity. Sometimes members of the laity will play a role in the church service, for example, doing one of the readings or running a youth group.
- people of a church who are not ordained clergy or clerics.
- the common man or woman
- the unlearned, untrained or ignorant as in “The Layman’s Guide to Basket Weaving”
- Laity should be regularly consulted on Church decisions, say …
- How a council of the laity can solve the Catholic clergy’s sexual abuse …
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