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  1. #1
    andrew495 is offline Newbie
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    lay off - meaning

    Hi everyone!

    I'd want to ask you about the meaning of the verb "lay off" in the following context.
    /
    That same year, Craig Mundie of Microsoft asserted that pilotless planes would routinely fly passengers
    by 2030, while Eric Schmidt of Google argued otherwise. The stakes were $1,000 each. To ease any heartburn
    Eric might be experiencing from his outsized exposure, I recently offered to take a piece of his action. He
    promptly laid off $500 with me. (I like his assumption that I’ll be around in 2030 to contribute my payment,
    should we lose.)
    /
    The "me" is Mr.Buffett . The context is from Mr.Buffett's letter to shareholders.

    I have bolded the sentence I am confused about.

    Whether Eric Schmidt of Google let Mr.Baffett to take a piece of Eric action in the bet or not?
    Could you write the meaning of the verb in this sentence?

    My logic is
    Let's assume there is a table. I take my money out of my wallet ant put the money on the table. The part "with me" in the sentence means that Mr.Baffett does the same. He puts his 500 on the table, too. The process of taking out the money and putting it on the table is the meaning of "lay off". But I am not sure of my logic.

    Thank you a lot in advance!
    Last edited by andrew495; 26-Oct-2017 at 23:42.

  2. #2
    andrew495 is offline Newbie
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    Re: lay off - meaning

    I think I got the meaning. The verb downsize is a synonym to lay off in this context.
    The sentence I asked can be rewritten as He promptly downsized $500 with me.

    But a little bit of confusion is remained still.

    The amount that follows the prasal verb. If we change the amount ,say, to $400.
    Thre sentence would be He downesized (laid off) $400 with me.
    Then, how many each person pays off, in that case?
    I mean when the number comes after the verb whether it means that the initial amount of $1000 downsized by $400 to $600 (He pays off 600 Baffett pays off 400) or it means that initial amount dounsized to 400 (He pays off 400 Baffett 600)?

  3. #3
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: lay off - meaning

    Quote Originally Posted by andrew495 View Post
    I think I got the meaning. The verb downsize is a synonym to lay off in this context.

    The sentence I asked can be rewritten as He promptly downsized $500 with me.
    But I'm still a little confused.

    The amount that follows the prasal verb. Your sentence needs a verb.

    If we change the amount ,say, to $400, the sentence would be He downsized (laid off) $400 with me.

    Then how much does each person pay, in that case?

    I mean, when the number comes after the verb, does it mean that the initial amount of $1000 was downsized by $400 to $600 (he pays $600, Buffett pays $400), or does it mean that initial amount was downsized to $400 (he pays $400, Buffett $600)?
    I have no idea.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  4. #4
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    Roman55 is offline Key Member
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    Re: lay off - meaning

    Quote Originally Posted by andrew495 View Post
    I think I got the meaning. The verb downsize is a synonym to lay off in this context.
    The sentence I asked can be rewritten as He promptly downsized $500 with me.

    But a little bit of confusion is remained still.

    The amount that follows the prasal verb. If we change the amount ,say, to $400.
    Thre sentence would be He downesized (laid off) $400 with me.
    Then, how many each person pays off, in that case?
    I mean when the number comes after the verb whether it means that the initial amount of $1000 downsized by $400 to $600 (He pays off 600 Baffett pays off 400) or it means that initial amount dounsized to 400 (He pays off 400 Baffett 600)?
    To lay off is not synonymous with to downsize. It is a term used in gambling when a bookmaker reduces his exposure to a potential loss by laying some of the bet off with someone else. In the context of your quoted passage Buffet has offered to take on $500 of the $1000 bet. In the event of a loss, Schmidt and Buffet would only be liable for $500 each. The amount that is laid off is the amount by which the initial stake is reduced, so if Schmidt laid off $400 he would still be exposed to the tune of $600.
    I am not a teacher

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: lay off - meaning

    It's a bet where no money actually changes hands and no payment is made until 2030.

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