Lay shaft, or Lay"shaft` (?), n. (Mach.)
A secondary shaft, as in a sliding change gear for an automobile; a cam shaft operated by a two- to-one gear in an internal-combustion engine. It is generally a shaft moving more or less independently of the other parts of a machine, as, in some marine engines, a shaft, driven by a small auxiliary engine, for independently operating the valves of the main engine to insure uniform motion.
© Webster 1913