From "Gone with the Wind":

Tom and us left home early this morning before she got up, and Tom's laying out over at the Fontaines' while we came over here.

As an English learner, I feel unfamiliar with the phrase "lay out over" in this sentence. After searching on the web for the usage of "lay out", I don't think any of the meanings matches the usage here. I would like to know if a native English speaker will feel uncertain about the meaning when coming across this sentence. How do you feel about it?

  • 1
    I think many contemporary native English speakers might not understand it as it is a US southern regionalism. It means hanging out, staying.
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 15:16
  • Without having read this question, answer, and comment, I would have assumed that laying out meant lying down. Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 18:29

1 Answer 1


This looks like dialect. The book notes that the twins were failures at school, and "had less grammar than any of their poor neighbours".

For the highlighted part, I read "laying out" to mean "hiding" but I get this almost entirely from the context: The boys have been expelled from University, and they are avoiding their mother. Compare with "laying low". The expression "Over at the Fontaines" just means "over there, at the Fontaine's house".

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