Lay out vs. layout

Lay out is a phrasal verb meaning (1) to make a plan, (2) to knock to the ground, (3) to explain or describe, (4) to display, (5) to arrange, and (6) to prepare a corpse for a funeral. Like many phrasal verbs, it has a corresponding one-word form that functions as both a noun and an adjective but not as a verb. Layout‘s main definitions are (1) a plan, and (2) the arrangement of elements in a space.

Examples

Lay out

On a flat, clean surface, lay out four sheets of filo or brik and fold in half, if using filo. [Telegraph]

At first sight, settlements here are laid out in rather disorderly fashion, like islands in an ocean of wastelands. [Five Centuries of Farming, Jan Bieleman]

This isn’t advice I relish giving; I prefer to lay out options and let the couple sort it out. [Washington Post]

Layout

Students entering Commons Monday morning were confronted with a new layout — a rope now blocks students’ access to the food stations. [Yale Daily News]

In publication design, layouts with generous space provide a marked contrast to layouts where the page is filled with text. [The Design Manual, David Whitbread]

One of the problems encountered in the design of manufacturing systems is how to arrange the machines on the surface of the workshop, which is commonly referred to as a layout problem. [Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence]

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