I was reading an article in The New Yorker in which the (American) author, Alice Gregory, refers to someone “learning the vocabulary for kitchen utensils while laying the table.” I assumed the last three words meant what I had always called “setting the table” — putting dishes, utensils (cutlery in BrE) and napkins (serviettes) on it. And I had a hunch it was a Britishism.
Sure enough, Lynne Murphy wrote about the phrase back in 2006 as a straight-up Britishism — that is, no reference to use by Americans. There was, however, this anonymous comment on Lynne’s post, presumably written by an American: “In Code to Zero British author Ken Follett has his American character in 1958 America ‘lay’ the table…..I had to look it up!”
I don’t have any record of any American other than Gregory using the phrase, so will label it as “Outlier” for the time being. If I learn of any more, I’ll upgrade to “On the Radar.”