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Layman's terms?

Posted by Word Camel on September 06, 2002

In Reply to: Layman's terms? posted by ESC on September 05, 2002

: I've been asked to find information on the origin of the phrase -- in layman's terms. I have found a couple of references that define "layman" as "anyone not in Holy Orders." That evolved into denote a person not of a particular calling, etc. Anyone have any other information?

According to the American heritage dictionary, on meaning of lay is "Of or typical of the average common man" it comes from the Middle English laie - which is from the old French, lai, which is from late Latin laicus which is from the Greek, laikos from laos meaning the people.

So maybe layman has an independent existance beyond and before holy orders?

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