over·​lie | \ ˌō-vər-ˈlī How to pronounce overlie (audio) \
overlay\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈlā How to pronounce overlay (audio) \; overlain\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈlān How to pronounce overlain (audio) \; overlying\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈlī-​iŋ How to pronounce overlying (audio) \

Definition of overlie

transitive verb

1 : to lie over or upon
2 : to cause the death of by lying upon

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for overlie


lap, overlap, overlay, overspread

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of overlie in a Sentence

the puzzle pieces overlay one another in complete disarray on the floor there will be freezing rain tonight, so we can expect to find a thick layer of ice overlying the car windshield in the morning

Recent Examples on the Web

Why overlay these canvases signifying debt with maps of continents, with national borders explicitly depicted or intimated? Gaiutra Bahadur, The New Republic, "The United States’ Debt to Immigrants," 25 June 2019 There was the signal, and there was their prediction of what the waveform from the merger of two black holes would look like overlying it. Quanta Magazine, "From Einstein’s Theory to Gravity’s Chirp," 18 Feb. 2016 Heat waves create the perfect conditions for spotting crop marks, which form in fields that overlay ancient buildings, from the air. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "A Heat Wave is Revealing Centuries-Old Sites in Wales," 11 July 2018 The bigger, overlying issue remains finding a transformative player to build around. Manny Navarro, miamiherald, "No whale-chasing for Pat Riley, Heat this summer, but the search for one continues," 29 June 2018 One Twitch feature lets gamers stream the official G League video feed, but overlay their own play-by-play. Benny Evangelista, SFChronicle.com, "Online video game powerhouse Twitch the ‘future of entertainment’," 17 June 2018 In addition to seeing tissues better through fat, overlying tissue and blood, MCI has the potential to make surgeons more efficient with less training. Laura Landro, WSJ, "The Operating Room of the Future," 28 May 2018 Antique portraits of the Civil War’s black soldiers and domestic workers overlay the dancers’ play on tension and resolution, bringing the collective memory of conflict to the forefront of modern consciousness. Kate Keller, Smithsonian, "Exclusive: Watch a Dynamic Reinterpretation of Joan Baez’s “Civil War”," 10 Apr. 2018 While many wildfires do burn trees and shrubs, the loss of this overlying vegetation canopy only slightly increases the amount of rainfall that reaches the soil surface and the kinetic energy delivered by the raindrops to the ground surface. Lee Macdonald, Washington Post, "Those deadly mudslides you’ve read about? Expect worse in the future.," 20 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overlie.' 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 overlie

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overlie

Statistics for overlie

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overlie

The first known use of overlie was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for overlie



English Language Learners Definition of overlie

formal : to lie over or on (something)


transitive verb
over·​lie | \ ˌō-vər-ˈlī How to pronounce overlie (audio) \
overlay\ -​ˈlā How to pronounce overlay (audio) \; overlain\ -​ˈlān How to pronounce overlain (audio) \; overlying\ -​ˈlī-​iŋ How to pronounce overlying (audio) \

Medical Definition of overlie

: to cause the death of by lying upon

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on overlie

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overlie

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overlie

Britannica English: Translation of overlie for Arabic Speakers

Comments on overlie

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


food or victuals

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.


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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