• imbricate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \IM-brih-kut\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: lying lapped over each other in regular order
  • EXAMPLES

During the tour of the mansion, Glenda noted the pattern of imbricate slate tiles on the roofs of the gables, a feature common to houses of the period.

"Recent geological studies and limited geophysical measurements in this region have been cited to argue that uplift is due to internal imbricate 'stacking' of Asian crust…." —Professor James Ni as quoted by Donyelle Kesler in Las Cruces Sun-News (New Mexico), July 22, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?

The ancient Romans knew how to keep the interior of their villas dry when it rained. They covered their roofs with overlapping curved tiles so the "imber" (Latin for "pelting rain" or "rain shower") couldn't seep in. The tiles were, in effect, "rain tiles," so the Romans called them "imbrices" (singular "imbrex"). The verb for installing the tiles was "imbricare," and English speakers used its past participle—"imbricatus"—to create "imbricate," which was first used as an adjective meaning "overlapping (like roof tiles)" and later became a verb meaning "to overlap." These days, the adjective is usually encountered in scientific contexts.

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "inveigh," our Word of the Day from December 2? The answer is …

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