100% GOOD (1 votes)responditLanguage Question
Whats the meaning of "layperson" and "layman"? Does it mean unexpert?

I have this term and I can not understand it: "layman's distance"

  • 4 responsa
exRanger profile picture exRangerDecember 2019
Chalk this up to "political correctness": the term was, for hundreds of years, simply "layman", as in "please put it in layman's terms" (= state the facts about a phenomenon in simple terms); since the (late) mid 20th century, there was pressure among certain elements in America to "expand" the terminology by either adding "laywoman" to represent women or "layperson" to represent both women and men. The latter carried the day and so in contemporary speech and journalism one will "usually" (note: there are always pockets of resistance) be rendered "layperson", and NOT the now old-fashioned (and deemed 'sexist') "layman".

I would wager that in > 99% of instances where one will hear this term in "common" spoken usage, it will emerge as "layman", for two reasons:
1. The speakers are usually of America's so-called "Boomer" Generation (i.e., born after 1945 and before 1965) or older;
2. Persons born from 1965-6 and later tend NOT to use any form of this term in their communications, written or oral.

Chalk it up to the (even further) DUMBING DOWN of the English Language in America (and in UK and in Aussie Land and Kiwi Land and etc.)
Kaelyn2005 profile picture Kaelyn2005December 2019
there are two definitions
a nonordained male member of a Church.
a person without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject.
dewijones profile picture dewijonesDecember 2019
Origin is religious.
Generally used to mean someone from outside a profession. So if discussing medicine if you're not a doctor you're a layman.
  • exRanger profile picture exRangerDecember 2019
    Re: "lay ministry" - persons from the community, not ordained ministry, but who assists in sundry matters pertaining to a religious community. As the OP's question suggests, yes, "lay" people would be regarded as existing outside the boundaries of the formal, professional ranks of X profession, calling, etc.