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!
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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
Recent Examples of imbricate from the Web
But in re-writing those real events, embedding a creative vision of the past in a contemporary fiction, novelists reveal how history is continually imbricated into the texture of our world.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imbricate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use of imbricate
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