in·​lay | \ (ˌ)in-ˈlā How to pronounce inlay (audio) , ˈin-ˌlā How to pronounce inlay (audio) \
inlaid\ (ˌ)in-​ˈlād How to pronounce inlaid (audio) , ˈin-​ˌlād \; inlaying

Definition of inlay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to set into a surface or ground material
b : to adorn with insertions
c : to insert (something, such as a color plate) into a mat or other reinforcement
2 : to rub, beat, or fuse (something, such as wire) into an incision in metal, wood, or stone


in·​lay | \ ˈin-ˌlā How to pronounce inlay (audio) \

Definition of inlay (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : inlaid work or a decorative inlaid pattern
2 : a tooth filling shaped to fit a cavity and then cemented into place

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Other Words from inlay


inlayer noun

Examples of inlay in a Sentence

Noun The cabinet doors are decorated with inlays.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Elsewhere, a rubber masked Donald Trump went as Vladimir Putin's date, and a couple dressed as a set of Japanese fairy tale characters, wearing head-to-toe robes inlaid with real yellow, pink, and white daisies. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Japan’s Kawasaki Parade Is a Serious Display of Halloween Spirit," 31 Oct. 2019 The group of people are seen carrying both a Mississippi State flag (which features a Confederate battle flag inlaid in it) and a flag connected to neo-Confederate group the League of the South in Alabama. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "White Nationalists Tried To Record Video In Front Of Emmett Till Memorial," 4 Nov. 2019 Rothman whacks his croquet balls with a $500 maple mallet inlaid with brass and made by a custom croquet mallet maker in Palm Springs. Steve Rubenstein,, "World champ croquet player shows up in Oakland. Mobs do not materialize," 20 Oct. 2019 The profound, long-lasting, bready flavor of the 32-hours-fermented dough went shot for shot with bossy toppings like the aforementioned anchovies and a fruity-hot garlic-habanero cream inlaid with sweet cherry tomatoes. Fortune, "Philadelphia’s Pizzeria Beddia Wants to Be More Than Just the ‘Best Pizza in America’," 22 Sep. 2019 The exhibit – just steps away from the reflecting pools -- features six granite monoliths, each weighing 13 to 18 tons, inlaid and bound with strips of World Trade Center steel. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "9/11 anniversary: 18 years since terror attack, updated memorial honors first responders who died of illnesses," 11 Sep. 2019 Built in 1942, the chic Midcentury Modern-style home has received a facelift since then. Skylights and inlaid marble floors adorn the entry, and beyond that, the 3,153-square-foot space is loaded with dramatic marble accents. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, "Sandra Bullock’s former Hollywood Hills home goes up for lease at $22,000 a month," 22 Aug. 2019 There is inlaid wood in the great room and the dining room, and there is a hallway that goes through the house directly between the front and back doors. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Family’s Lake Country French Provincial house gets a ‘modern vintage’ facelift," 29 Aug. 2019 Stretching more than 150 feet in length, the sculpture’s feet alone stand at 16 feet in height, and each are inlaid with mother of pearl and spiritual carvings related to Buddha and his teachings. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "Six of Thailand’s Most Magnificent Temples," 2 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Both showers are lined with subway tile and have riverstone floors and granite seats, but one features a glass-tile inlay; the other is riverstone. John Ellement, Real Estate, "Home of the Week: For $4.3 million, an oceanside Gloucester mansion with modern flair," 22 Jan. 2020 The secondary baths offer Carrara marble under-mount sinks and tile inlays. Emilia Benton, Houston Chronicle, "Well-appointed West U. home offers its own outdoor paradise," 12 Oct. 2019 Tucked behind gates and a white picket fence, the charming two-story was recently renovated but retains such character details as a mix of siding and decorative window inlays. Jack Flemming,, "Hot Property: Donald Trump, art of the Beverly Hills deal," 22 June 2019 Tile inlay creates a pattern in the original wood floors. Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times, "Sellers find a time capsule in their Los Feliz home," 4 Oct. 2019 An updated chef ’s kitchen includes a coffered ceiling, granite counters, island, and a breakfast bar, a tumbled stone backsplash with decorative inlay tiles, soft-close dual-toned cabinetry, and KitchenAid appliances. Monica Lander, The Mercury News, "Sponsored: Retreat to this light, airy custom-built Almaden Valley home," 10 Sep. 2019 Interior trim and styling can be individualized with new exclusive fine woods with metal or high-gloss inlay. Emma Jayne Williams,, "BMW updates the 7-Series sedan line for 2020; plug-in hybrid model added," 3 Dec. 2019 Fashioned in the modern farmhouse style, the two-story spread has 6,000 square feet of living space, oak floors with gold inlays, custom paneling and designer fixtures. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property: Maroon 5’s James Valentine makes his move," 28 Sep. 2019 Inside, the home is outfitted with Italian porcelain floors with metal and wood inlays, Venetian plaster walls, one-of-a-kind chandeliers and Italian porcelain counters. Emilia Benton, Houston Chronicle, "River Oaks home offers sophisticated living and entertaining," 26 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inlay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of inlay


1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for inlay

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The first known use of inlay was in 1596

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Last Updated

3 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inlay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for inlay


How to pronounce inlay (audio) How to pronounce inlay (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inlay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to set pieces of wood, metal, etc., into the surface of (something) for decoration


How to pronounce inlay (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inlay (Entry 2 of 2)

: material that is set into the surface of something for decoration : inlaid material


in·​lay | \ ˈin-ˈlā How to pronounce inlay (audio) \
inlaid\ -​ˈlād \; inlaying

Kids Definition of inlay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to set into a surface for decoration or strengthening


in·​lay | \ ˈin-ˌlā How to pronounce inlay (audio) \

Kids Definition of inlay (Entry 2 of 2)

: inlaid work : material used in inlaying


in·​lay | \ ˈin-ˌlā How to pronounce inlay (audio) \

Medical Definition of inlay

1 : a tooth filling shaped to fit a cavity and then cemented into place
2 : a piece of tissue (as bone) laid into the site of missing tissue to cover a defect

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More from Merriam-Webster on inlay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inlay

Spanish Central: Translation of inlay

Nglish: Translation of inlay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of inlay for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about inlay

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