un·​der·​lay | \ ˌən-dər-ˈlā How to pronounce underlay (audio) \
underlaid\ ˌən-​dər-​ˈlād How to pronounce underlaid (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 The main thing is that the government had to underlay the beginning of the process for the retrofitting of these things. Lily Rothman, Time, "What Can History Teach Today's Leaders? Doris Kearns Goodwin Shares Presidential Lessons for the Coronavirus Pandemic," 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, "Government by White Nationalism Is Upon Us," 6 Feb. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And the increasing isolation of so many people underlays that all. NBC News, "Meet the Press - December 22, 2019," 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, "Kaia Gerber Leans into Loewe," 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, "Things to do with the kids this weekend: Storybook Festival, Family Sleepover, Dog Tales & more," 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, "Angelina Jolie Wears a Classic Winter Combo: Long Coat, Long Dress," 24 Nov. 2018 The tulle underlay provided an light and airy base for the shining sequins to come through. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Dakota Johnson Has Her Most Magical Red Carpet Moment of the Year," 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, "Meghan Markle's Royal Wedding Dress Could Make a Feminist Statement," 18 May 2018 It was made from compressed, recycled textiles: a repurposing of carpet underlay or utilitarian insulation material. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "The 7 Best Collections from Milan Fashion Week," 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, "#HoustonStrong, rose gold, and the royal wedding rule 2018 Bridal Extravaganza Show," 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.

See More

First Known Use of underlay


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


14th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about underlay

Time Traveler for underlay

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for underlay

Cite this Entry

“Underlay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underlay. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for underlay


How to pronounce underlay (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of underlay

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on underlay

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!