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


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

Synonyms for overlay

Synonyms: Verb

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And last, overlay it in real-time in front of your eyes. Hod Fleishman, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 In order to locate cliffs in Palestinian areas of the West Bank, Bruns and Harris teamed up with a local hydrologist to overlay topographical maps with a political one. Joe Purtell, Outside Online, 26 Nov. 2019 This is what allows the headset to overlay digital information over the real-world environment for AR functions. Anshel Sag, Forbes, 27 Oct. 2021 Baker Cahill adopts augmented reality’s abilities to overlay content on a geo-specific location and help audiences grasp the interconnectedness of the virtual and the tangible. Charlotte Kent, Wired, 17 Feb. 2022 The city has said its revenue from the extension would overlay at least half of its road inventory. David Showers, Arkansas Online, 30 Jan. 2022 The 464 area code was designated to overlay 708 in 1996, the same time when other parts of Chicago were assigned second area codes, said George Light, an engineering analyst at the ICC. Olivia Olander, chicagotribune.com, 21 Jan. 2022 The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved a plan Wednesday to overlay 283 as a new area code over the existing 513, which is expected to run out by the fourth quarter of 2023. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 16 Dec. 2021 Via the use of a range of colors and shapes, the display can overlay where the self-driving car is headed. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The graphic overlay may even contain interactive elements that let Peacock subscribers shop for the product or service being advertised. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 2 May 2022 These curtains function like standard blackout curtains but are designed with a white tulle overlay to provide a softer appearance, perfect for a nursery or kid's room. Amanda Constantine, Good Housekeeping, 30 Apr. 2022 A$AP Rocky, paired the lace overlay with black lingerie, a leather cape and matching knee-high leather boots. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, 1 Mar. 2022 License agents may also have information or email the department at: odfw.websales@odfw.oregon.gov. Unlike 2020, the interactive hunting map on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Web site doesn’t show an overlay of the fire areas. Bill Monroe, oregonlive, 17 Sep. 2021 South Los Angeles was represented well, from performers and set design to the overlay on the field. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2022 The second piece, though, is that technological overlay. CBS News, 2 Feb. 2022 With an overlay, an additional area code is added to the same geographic area as the existing area code, with all current phone customers retaining the original area code. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 19 Aug. 2021 Android can still send the gauge cluster a UI overlay for things like media info and Google Maps information, but the speedo is off-limits. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 11 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of overlay


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


15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for overlay

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

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Last Updated

21 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Overlay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overlay. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for overlay


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.


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on overlay

Nglish: Translation of overlay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overlay for Arabic Speakers


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