(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”).