lay back in the buckwheat

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jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
"<...>
We lay back in the buckwheat and send somebody over there, maybe to get crucified on a telephone pole, maybe something even worse."
Source: The Stand by Stephen King
Context: A superflu epidemic wiped out most of the population. All of the survivors dearmt of Mother Abagail (good) and of Randall Flagg (evil). Those who dreamed of Mother Abagail made their way across the country to Boulder. An ad hoc committee was formed to govern the affairs of the city. At their first meeting, they are busy debating a motion that no committee members will be sent scouting on Randall Flagg activities.

We lay back in the buckwheat ~ we do as little possible, right? Is this slang common?

Thank you.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I take it to mean that they will stay back out of sight, hiding in the buckwheat, and send someone (apparently not a committee member) over to check things out.

    If my interpretation is correct, "we lay back" is a description of what they will do in the future. Think of "stand back" except that "lay back" suggests being close to the ground and out of sight.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It should be "lie back" in formal speech, but it would sound unnatural in King's context. As Thesaurus.com notes: In all but the most careful, formal speech, forms of lay are commonly heard in senses normally associated with lie.
     
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