laydown, n.

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun Jan 20 00:58:34 UTC 2013

The military sense quoted in Wiktionary is:

1984, Ashton B. Carter et al., Ballistic Missile Defense[3], ISBN
0815713118, page 141: "The offense could contrive a variety of laydowns to
intensify the defense's problems."

I'm not sure how widespread this usage is. I don't recall it from my
military and arms control days. My guess is that this sense comes from the
older sense of a "laydown delivery" of a nuclear weapon, which uses a
parachute to retard the descent of the bomb so that it actually "lays down"
on the ground before detonating in order to maximize the ground shockwave to
destroy underground facilities.

I don't think this is what the CNN reporter intended. It looks to me like a
misspoken "layout."

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Benjamin Barrett
Sent: Saturday, January 19, 2013 5:56 PM
Subject: Re: laydown, n. has:

(publishing) A physical mockup or layout of a page design
(military) A pattern of deployment

The OED has two nouns for "lay-down," but neither cover this meaning.

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

On Jan 19, 2013, at 2:02 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>

> CNN reported a day or two ago - without feeling the need to define it
> - that a U.S. drone had flown over the whereabouts of the hostages in
> Algeria so as to "get a laydown of the area."
> I assume it means a panoramic digital photo, even though, for the
> well-known reason,.one should never "assume."

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