Quick answer
"Lie down" is an intransitive verb phrase which is often translated as "acostarse", and "lay down" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "establecer". Learn more about the difference between "lie down" and "lay down" below.
lie down(
lay
 
daun
)
An intransitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and does not require a direct object (e.g. Everybody please stand up.).
intransitive verb phrase
1. (to recline)
a. acostarse
I have a headache. I am going to lie down for a while.Me duele la cabeza. Me voy a acostar un rato.
b. echarse
This has been a long day. I can't wait until I can return home and lie down in my hammock.Fue un día largo. No veo la hora de volver a casa y echarme en mi hamaca.
c. tumbarse
The dog lay down on the sofa, and fell fast asleepEl perro se tumbó en el sofá y se quedó profundamente dormido.
d. tenderse
Sarah, why don't you go and lie down until you feel better?Sarah ¿por qué no te tiendes hasta que te sientas mejor?
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lay down(
ley
 
daun
)
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to establish)
a. establecer
My roommate laid down the rules for sharing the room.Mi compañero de cuarto estableció las normas para compartir la habitación.
2. (to put down)
a. dejar (an object)
He laid down his knife and fork and pushed his plate away.Dejó sus cubiertos y apartó su plato.
b. deponer (arms)
The president demanded that the terrorists laid down their arms.El presidente exigió a los terroristas que depusieran sus armas.
c. tender (a person)
I laid the injured man down as gently as I could.Tendí al herido con sumo cuidado.
3. (to give one's life for)
a. dar
Thousands laid down their lives for their country.Miles de personas dieron la vida por su país.
4. (to store wine)
a. guardar en bodega
This wine is good enough to lay down for several years.Este vino es suficientemente bueno para guardarlo en bodega durante varios años.
5. (to recline oneself)
a. tumbarse
He laid himself down on the bed.Se tumbó en la cama.
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