Definition of imbricate
: lying lapped over each other in regular order imbricate scales
imbricate was our Word of the Day on 12/29/2013. Hear the podcast!
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 adjective meaning "overlapping (like roof tiles)" and later became a verb meaning "to overlap."
Origin and Etymology of imbricate
Late Latin imbricatus, past participle of imbricare to cover with pantiles, from Latin imbric-, imbrex pantile, from imbr-, imber rain; akin to Greek ombros rain
First Known Use: circa 1610See Words from the same year
First Known Use of imbricate
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up imbricate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).