over·​lie | \ˌō-vər-ˈlī \
overlay\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈlā \; overlain\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈlān \; overlying\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈlī-​iŋ \

Definition of overlie 

transitive verb

1 : to lie over or upon

2 : to cause the death of by lying upon

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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

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 Other students are examining records of Ice Age sea level history held in cave sediments, as well as the presence of tree roots penetrating into underwater caves and their importance to the overlying tropical forest. Tom Iliffe, Washington Post, "A lot can go wrong when you’re a professor who does research by cave diving," 14 Jan. 2018 In this case, there may be other demographic factors that overlay onto these results. Philip Bump, Washington Post, "Men with kids in Alabama stood by Roy Moore. Women with kids didn’t.," 13 Dec. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of overlie

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for overlie

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

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More Definitions for overlie



English Language Learners Definition of overlie

: to lie over or on (something)


transitive verb
over·​lie | \ˌō-vər-ˈlī \
overlay\ -​ˈlā \; overlain\ -​ˈlān \; overlying\ -​ˈlī-​iŋ \

Medical Definition of overlie 

: to cause the death of by lying upon

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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).


something that serves to warn or remind

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