- (transitive) (of an employer) To dismiss (workers) from employment, e.g. at a time of low business volume, often with a severance package.
- (transitive) (of a bookmaker) To place all or part of a bet with another bookmaker in order to reduce risk.
- (transitive, idiomatic) To cease, quit, stop (doing something).
- (transitive and intransitive, idiomatic) To stop bothering, annoying, teasing, pestering, pressuring, being aggressive with, or hovering over someone; to leave (someone) alone.
retire, ride at anchor, rope off, rule off, sack, scrub, secure, separate forcibly, set off, set out, set the limit, shut down, shut up shop, sketch, sketch out, specify, spell, stake out, stay, step off, stop, stop for breath, strike, strip, superannuate, surplus, surround, suspend, take a break, take a recess, take a rest, take five, take ten, take time out, terminate, turn off, turn out, unfrock, walk out, abandon, abort, aestivate, belay, blueprint, boot, bounce, bound, break, breathe, bump, bust, call a strike, call it quits, can, cancel, cashier, cease, chart, circle in, circumscribe, close down, close shop, cut it out, define, defrock, degrade, delimit, delimitate, demarcate, demote, deplume, depose, deprive, desist, determine, diagram, disbar, discharge, discontinue, disemploy, dismiss, displace, displume, drop it, drum out, enclose, end, expel, fire, fix, furlough, give over, give the ax, give the gate, go on strike, graph, halt, have done with, have nothing on, hibernate, hold, kick, kick upstairs, knock it off, knock off, lay by, lay out, lay to, leave off, let go, let out, lie by, lie dormant, lie fallow, lie idle, lie off, lie to, lie up, make redundant, map, map out, mark boundaries, mark off, mark out, mark the periphery, measure off, measure out, pace off, pause, pension off, plot, plot out, quit, read out of, recess, refrain, release, relinquish, remove, renounce, replace,
- In the first two transitive senses the object can come before or after the particle (laid off the whole department). If the object is a pronoun, then it must come before the particle (laid them off).
- In the final two idiomatic "cease" senses, all objects, including pronouns, come after the complete phrase (lay off me!).
- (to dismiss workers from employment): make redundant, let go
- See also Thesaurus:lay off