un·​der·​lay | \ ˌən-dər-ˈlā How to pronounce underlay (audio) \
underlaid\ ˌən-​dər-​ˈlād How to pronounce underlay (audio) \; underlaying

Definition of underlay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cover, line, or traverse the bottom of : give support to on the underside or below
2 : to raise or support by something laid under


un·​der·​lay | \ ˈən-dər-ˌlā How to pronounce underlay (audio) \

Definition of underlay (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is or is designed to be laid under

Examples of underlay in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What underlay this outlook, Mr. Strathern believes, was an approach to art-making quite different from previous approaches and strikingly different from our own. Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, 25 June 2021 But Kahl's talk about Russia is what underlay some of the biggest controversies during the Trump presidency. Jerry Dunleavy, Washington Examiner, 30 Dec. 2020 The authors make no mention of the companies and people who produced the goods and services that Scrooge traded, nor of the firm bonds of family, society and nation that underlay their productive efforts. WSJ, 29 Dec. 2020 The main thing is that the government had to underlay the beginning of the process for the retrofitting of these things. Lily Rothman, Time, 23 Mar. 2020 When the South was a vast archipelago of human bondage and labor camps, racist ideology took the form of a widespread belief in black inferiority and underlay the forceful defenses of slavery. Jamelle Bouie, Slate Magazine, 6 Feb. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And the increasing isolation of so many people underlays that all. NBC News, 22 Dec. 2019 The fitted, ankle-grazing outfit featured blouson sleeves, a black silk panel on the hem, button closures down the bodice, a white mini underlay. Barry Samaha, Harper's BAZAAR, 12 Dec. 2019 Participants supply their own sleeping bag, twin-sized air mattress or foam underlay, pillow and personal hygiene materials. Jennifer Boehm, sun-sentinel.com, 13 Nov. 2019 The actress paired it with an elegant white dress that had a strategic slit, as well as a plunging V-neck silhouette that was worn with a pretty lace trim underlay. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 24 Nov. 2018 The tulle underlay provided an light and airy base for the shining sequins to come through. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, 16 Oct. 2018 Last year when attorney Princess Ariana married Prince Yoel of Ethiopia, the bride wore a sleeveless gown, with an embroidered bodice that featured a lace underlay, low-cut back design, and long layered tulle skirt. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, 18 May 2018 It was made from compressed, recycled textiles: a repurposing of carpet underlay or utilitarian insulation material. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, 26 Feb. 2018 See-through styles with nude underlays were featured during the two-day runway showcase in addition booths including The Princess Bridal, Impression Bridal, and Ventura's Bridal Fashion. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, 8 Jan. 2018

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of underlay was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Underlay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underlay. Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for underlay



English Language Learners Definition of underlay

: a layer of material that is placed under something else (such as a carpet)


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