A woman belaying on a ropes course.
- The definition of a belay is something to which a person or rope is secured.
A large rock on a mountain is an example of a belay.
- Belay means to secure a rope around a person, pin or cleat.
An example of belay is to wrap a rope around a rock to support a mountain climber.
intransitive verbbelayed, belaying
- to make (a rope) secure by winding around a belaying pin, cleat, piton, etc.; hold fast
- Naut., Informal
- to hold; stop: belay there!
- to cancel: belay the last order
- to secure (a person, as a mountain climber, or thing) by a rope
Origin of belayMiddle English bileggen ; from Old English belecgan, to make fast ; from be-, be- + lecgan, lay
verbbe·layed, be·lay·ing, be·lays
- Nautical To secure or make fast (a rope, for example) by winding on a cleat or pin.
- To provide security to (a climber) by paying out or drawing in rope, often through a braking device, in readiness to break a potential fall.
- To cause to stop.
- To be made secure.
- Used in the imperative as an order to stop: Belay there!
- The act of belaying a climber.
- A system of ropes and anchors by which a climber is belayed.
Origin of belayMiddle English bileggen, to surround, from Old English belecgan; see legh- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present belays, present participle belaying, simple past and past participle belayed or belaid)
- To make (a rope) fast by turning it round a fastening point such as a cleat or piton.
- To secure (a person) to a rope or (a rope) to a person.
- He would need an experienced partner to belay him on the difficult climbs.
- To lay aside; stop; cancel.
- I could only hope the remaining piton would belay his fall.
- Belay that order!
- (intransitive, nautical) The general command to stop or cease.
- (intransitive, nautical) To make a line fast by turns around a cleat, pin, or bitt.
From Middle English beleggen, bileggen, from Old English belecgan (“to cover, invest, surround, afflict, attribute to, charge with, accuse”), equivalent to be- + lay. Cognate with Dutch beleggen (“to cover, overlay, belay”), German belegen (“to cover, occupy, belay”), Swedish belägga (“to pave”).