What does the word laity mean?

Usage examples for laity

  1. By the laity of Milby and its neighbourhood he was regarded as a man of quite remarkable powers and learning, who must make a considerable sensation in London pulpits and drawing- rooms on his occasional visit to the metropolis; and by his brother clergy he was regarded as a discreet and agreeable fellow. – Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot
  2. I recognise, therefore, that the educational grievances of the laity are much more pressing than those of the clergy ... – Ireland In The New Century by Horace Plunkett