overlay

verb
over·​lay | \ ˌō-vər-ˈlā How to pronounce overlay (audio) \
overlaid\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈlād How to pronounce overlaid (audio) \; overlaying

Definition of overlay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to lay or spread over or across : superimpose
b : to prepare an overlay for

overlay

noun
over·​lay | \ ˈō-vər-ˌlā How to pronounce overlay (audio) \

Definition of overlay (Entry 2 of 2)

: a covering either permanent or temporary: such as
a : an ornamental veneer
b : a decorative and contrasting design or article placed on top of a plain one
c : a transparent sheet containing graphic matter to be superimposed on another sheet

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for overlay

Synonyms: Verb

blanket, carpet, coat, cover, overlie, overspread, sheet

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of overlay in a Sentence

Verb

you should apply a coat of primer first, and then overlay it with two coats of paint cedar shingles overlaying one another on the roof

Noun

a silver ring with gold overlay The wooden table has a marble overlay.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The game, called Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, is similar in style to Pokémon Go, asking players to traverse a virtual map overlaid on the real world and collect magical artifacts. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is out now for iOS and Android in the US," 20 June 2019 The real test, however, was whether Ronan could dance to genuine music — to pop and rock songs with all their phrases and flourishes overlaid on the underlying beat. Quanta Magazine, "The Beasts That Keep the Beat," 22 Mar. 2016 On rare occasions, words are overlaid on a pre-existing composition. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Mainly Mozart thrills with a rare Mozart cantata and a well-known violinist," 16 June 2019 The entry, which Garrett posted in April 2017, shows a photo of Jenner that is overlaid with a transphobic and vulgar message. Richard Winton, latimes.com, "CHP chief investigated over transphobic Facebook post about Caitlyn Jenner," 4 June 2019 CdeBaca has contrasted herself to Brooks by calling for tighter controls on development in District 9, which overlays northeast Denver. John Aguilar, The Denver Post, "Denver City Council incumbents feel the heat in runoff, clerk’s race flips in final vote tally," 4 June 2019 Those YouTube videos are overlaid on a satellite map. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Drones of Tomorrow Have a Data Problem," 11 May 2017 Objects being tracked are highlighted by a target box overlaid on the screen. Eric Tegler, Popular Mechanics, "With Saab's Remote Towers, Air Traffic Controllers Could Work From Anywhere," 23 Mar. 2016 That means they can be overlaid on games or other content, just as is already done with webcam input. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft killing off the old Skype client, adding built-in call recording," 16 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Baltimore City Council may soon establish an overlay district in Fells Point that would specify building height restrictions in certain areas and regulate properties that fall within the boundaries. Hallie Miller, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore City Council bill would create new overlay district with building height restrictions in Fells Point," 10 July 2019 The Jamboree has had holiday overlays and even abbreviated its songs. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, "Disney World: Revisiting the Tiki Room birds, Country Bears," 9 July 2019 The decision — approved in 2018 — adds an overlay that will offer additional phone number options. Sarah Ravani, SFChronicle.com, "Hold the phone. New 341 area code introduced in East Bay," 21 June 2019 Following the massive success of their 2018 collection, which Playful Promises founder Emma Parker says sold out in 48 hours, the companies created a batch of new offerings that include cutouts, lace overlays, and lace bodysuits. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Playful Promises and Gabi Fresh Created Another Size-Inclusive Lingerie Line," 18 Apr. 2019 Additional features include the ability to drop in images with transparent backgrounds and use photos as overlays to create effects like picture-in-picture and split-screen. Dami Lee, The Verge, "iMovie for iOS adds a green screen feature," 11 June 2019 More recently, residents have expressed concern about large assessments related to mill-and-overlay projects in various parts of the city, but that kind of project is not eligible for opt-outs by petition. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "Looking to opt out of street work? In St. Paul, you may be out of luck," 11 June 2019 Similar overlays have occurred in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other areas. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "Sacramento residents in the 916 area code must now dial a 1 and area code for local calls | The Sacramento Bee," 8 Feb. 2018 Her Louis Vuitton ensemble featured a black and silver striped bra and skirt, with a silver mesh overlay that had a flared skirt hem and sleeves along with a high neckline. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sophie Turner Gets Futuristic in Louis Vuitton for X-Men Premiere," 28 May 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of overlay

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overlay

Dictionary Entries near overlay

overlarge

overlavish

overlaw

overlay

overlayer

overleaf

overleap

Statistics for overlay

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overlay

The first known use of overlay was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for overlay

overlay

verb

English Language Learners Definition of overlay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cover (something) with a layer of another material

overlay

noun

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

: material that covers the complete surface or part of the surface of something and that changes its appearance
: a transparent sheet with information or pictures on it that is placed on top of another sheet to change what is being shown

overlay

verb
over·​lay | \ ˌō-vər-ˈlā How to pronounce overlay (audio) \
overlaid\ -​ˈlād \; overlaying

Kids Definition of overlay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to lay or spread over or across The table top is overlaid with ceramic tiles.

overlay

noun
over·​lay | \ ˈō-vər-ˌlā How to pronounce overlay (audio) \

Kids Definition of overlay (Entry 2 of 2)

: a usually thin covering that is laid over or across something The silver ring has gold overlay.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on overlay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overlay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overlay

Spanish Central: Translation of overlay

Nglish: Translation of overlay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overlay for Arabic Speakers

Comments on overlay

What made you want to look up overlay? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!