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

transitive verb

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


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un·​der·​lay ˈən-dər-ˌlā How to pronounce underlay (audio)
: something that is or is designed to be laid under

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Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
The hardness of the porphyric soils that underlay Cantina Terlan vines produced steep terraces where growers toil by hand. Tom Mullen, Forbes, 31 July 2022 With the pandemic entering its third year, a note of pessimism underlay the report. New York Times, 25 Jan. 2022 However, the form of Andres’ work was very Stravinskian — static harmonies that often underlay rhythmic vitality. San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Jan. 2022 An agency must provide a more detailed justification when a new policy rests upon factual findings that contradict those which underlay its prior policy. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, 1 Dec. 2021 Kilims underlay altars from Thailand alongside opalescent glass and incense burners and mid-century Czech light fixtures and tables extracted from ancient French farmhouses and on and on and on. Christopher Bonanos, Curbed, 16 Sep. 2021 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
Overwetting can damage the carpet backing and underlay, causing shrinkage, discoloration, and odor. Caitlin Sole, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 Sep. 2022 For the occasion, Leni opted for a timeless all-black look, wearing a lacy black slipdress with a nude underlay and a midi-length hemline. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 1 Aug. 2022 Inside, the boozy, boisterous swarm emits a relentless buzz, an underlay to the shouts, catcalls and chants reverberating off the walls. John Marshall, ajc, 12 Feb. 2022 Green earth was ubiquitous in medieval Italian wood-panel paintings as a base layer for gilding and an underlay for flesh tones. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 3 Dec. 2021 Green earth was widely used as a base layer and an underlay for skin tones. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Dec. 2021 The paint was used as a skin tone underlay in Michelangelo's unfinished painting, The Virgin and Child with Saint John and Angels ('The Machester Madonna'). Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Dec. 2021 Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy sported a multi-layered suit with a skirt underlay in cobalt blue from Valentino. Blue Carreon, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 And the increasing isolation of so many people underlays that all. NBC News, 22 Dec. 2019 See More

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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Word History

First Known Use


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


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near underlay

Cite this Entry

“Underlay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underlay. Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

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Last Updated: 3 Aug 2022

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