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

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

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 At 484 square feet, standard rooms are among Hong Kong’s largest, with subtle Oriental touches, extra-wide plasma televisions and Four Seasons essentials like the sheepskin underlay bed. Condé Nast Traveler, "Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong," 20 Oct. 2017 And the classic shoe construction of overlays and underlays offered Ryo-san a lot of opportunities to apply his knowledge about material usage and construction. Jonathan Evans, Esquire, "How This Truly Exceptional Adidas Collaboration Came Together," 1 Sep. 2017 Simply prep the floor, put down the underlay, cut the pieces to fit and click them together. Tim Woodward, idahostatesman, "Home improvement project got you down? Cheer up. This one was probably worse.," 14 July 2017

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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Time Traveler for underlay

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

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English Language Learners Definition of underlay

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on underlay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with underlay

Nglish: Translation of underlay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of underlay for Arabic Speakers

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