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

Definition of overlie

transitive verb

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

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Synonyms for overlie


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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 The sale outcome would also be a strange end to the Trump administration’s push to allow drilling in the refuge, which is thought to overlie billions of barrels of oil, although that thinking is largely based on decades-old data. New York Times, "Sale of Arctic Drilling Leases Draws an Unusual Taker. It May Be the Only One.," 30 Dec. 2020 The coastal plain is believed to overlie one of the last remaining significant petroleum reserves in the United States, and could potentially yield billions of barrels of oil. New York Times, "Sale of Arctic Refuge Oil and Gas Leases Is Set for Early January," 3 Dec. 2020 The coastal plain is thought to overlie geological formations that could hold billions of barrels of oil, although that assessment is based on data collected in the 1980s. New York Times, "Trump Administration, in Late Push, Moves to Sell Oil Rights in Arctic Refuge," 16 Nov. 2020 Researchers will also be able to download the map and overlay their data, according to Gizmodo. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Gorgeous New Map of the Moon Is Most Detailed to Date," 27 Apr. 2020 This melts the overlying ice, creating a dark band of open water running around the equator. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Climate models go out of this world," 2 Mar. 2020 So contact is obviously a very important issue, but there may be this overlying effect of the environment, like the climate of a place, that acts as an upper boundary as to how much virus activity there can be. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Will the coronavirus outbreak die off in summer? An expert weighs in," 18 Mar. 2020 In these chronic cases, clinicians typically find significant atrophy of the two major muscles that are supplied by the nerve overlying the scapula, and when these muscles atrophy, the bony spine of the scapula becomes very prominent. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "PET TALK: The rundown on equine shoulder Sweeney," 7 Mar. 2020 One painting had two overlying nests plus an underlying nest, allowing the researchers to reliably bracket the age of the Gwions for the first time: 12,000 years ago, give or take 500 years. Elizabeth Finkel, Science | AAAS, "Mysterious Australian rock art may depict the chaos following rising seas," 5 Feb. 2020

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Overlie.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overlie. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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 overlie (audio) \; overlain\ -​ˈlān How to pronounce overlie (audio) \; overlying\ -​ˈlī-​iŋ How to pronounce overlie (audio) \

Medical Definition of overlie

: to cause the death of by lying upon

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