lay figure

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lay figure

n.
1. See mannequin.
2. A subservient or insignificant person.

[From obsolete layman, from Dutch leeman, variant of ledenman : obsolete Dutch led, limb (from Middle Dutch lit) + man, man (from Middle Dutch; see manikin).]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

lay figure

n
1. (Art Terms) an artist's jointed dummy, used in place of a live model, esp for studying effects of drapery
2. a person considered to be subservient or unimportant
[C18: from obsolete layman, from Dutch leeman, literally: joint-man]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

lay′ fig`ure


n.
1. a jointed model of the human body, usu. of wood, from which artists work in the absence of a living model; mannequin.
2. a person of no importance, individuality, distinction, etc.; nonentity.
[1785–95; lay, extracted from obsolete layman < Dutch leeman]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

lay figure

A wooden model of the human body that is jointed so that it can be posed and arranged in clothing; used by artists and sculptors.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.lay figure - dummy in the form of an artist's jointed model of the human body
dummy - a figure representing the human form
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
Translations

lay figure

nGliederpuppe f; (fig)Marionette f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
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References in classic literature ?
But already Percerin, goaded by the idea that the king was to be told he stood in the way of a pleasant surprise, had offered Lebrun a chair, and proceeded to bring from a wardrobe four magnificent dresses, the fifth being still in the workmen's hands; and these masterpieces he successively fitted upon four lay figures, which, imported into France in the time of Concini, had been given to Percerin II.
Here and there, above this shelf, a head of Niobe, hanging to a nail, presented her pose of woe; a Venus smiled; a hand thrust itself forward like that of a pauper asking alms; a few "ecorches," yellowed by smoke, looked like limbs snatched over-night from a graveyard; besides these objects, pictures, drawings, lay figures, frames without paintings, and paintings without frames gave to this irregular apartment that studio physiognomy which is distinguished for its singular jumble of ornament and bareness, poverty and riches, care and neglect.
She became impersonal and forgot her husband, only using him as a lay figure to give point to her tale.
His particular trick of speaking of any third person as of a lay figure was exasperating.
Lay figures do striptease on a myrtle shore, lay their robes carefully to wear tomorrow, prisoners walk in circles, aluminium grabs pluck litter daintily from between clumps.
For this superb show (which ran first at the Fitzwilliam Museum before moving to the Musee Bourdelle in Paris) was concerned above all with the liveliness of the lifeless, giving a startling account of artists' mannequins or lay figures that ranged from Fra Bartolommeo and Poussin by way of Degas and Kokoschka to the Chapman brothers.