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[verb oh-ver-lap; noun oh-ver-lap] /verb ˌoʊ vərˈlæp; noun ˈoʊ vərˌlæp/
verb (used with object), overlapped, overlapping.
to lap over (something else or each other); extend over and cover a part of; imbricate.
to cover and extend beyond (something else):
The ends of cloth overlap the table.
to coincide in part with; have in common with:
two lives that overlapped each other.
verb (used without object), overlapped, overlapping.
to lap over:
two sales territories that overlap; fields of knowledge that overlap.
an act or instance of overlapping.
the extent or amount of overlapping:
The second story of the building has an overlap of ten feet.
an overlapping part.
the place of overlapping.
(in yacht racing) the position of two yachts side by side such that the overtaking boat, to pass the other on the opposite side, must fall back, or such that neither can turn toward the other without danger of collision.
Origin of overlap
First recorded in 1685-95; over- + lap2
Related forms
nonoverlapping, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for overlap
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The top is also cut to shape from cigar-box wood, and should overlap about 1/4 inch.

    Boys' Book of Model Boats Raymond Francis Yates
  • When setting the legs on to the band, place them so as to overlap each other.

  • So numerous are these old pictures that they overlap each other upon the walls.

    Mexico Charles Reginald Enock
  • In less than ten minutes her head will overlap the stern of her rival.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • Slowly but surely his shell began to overlap that of Si Peters.

British Dictionary definitions for overlap


verb (ˌəʊvəˈlæp) -laps, -lapping, -lapped
(of two things) to extend or lie partly over (each other)
to cover and extend beyond (something)
(intransitive) to coincide partly in time, subject, etc
noun (ˈəʊvəˌlæp)
a part that overlaps or is overlapped
the amount, length, etc, overlapping
the act or fact of overlapping
a place of overlapping
(geology) the horizontal extension of the upper beds in a series of rock strata beyond the lower beds, usually caused by submergence of the land
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for overlap

"to partially extend over," 1726, over- + lap (v.). Related: Overlapped; overlapping.


1813, from overlap (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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overlap in Medicine

overlap o·ver·lap (ō'vər-lāp')

  1. A part or portion of a structure that extends or projects over another.

  2. The suturing of one layer of tissue above or under another layer to provide additional strength, often used in dental surgery.

v. o·ver·lapped, o·ver·lap·ping, o·ver·laps (ō'vər-lāp')
  1. To lie over and partly cover something.

  2. To perform a surgical overlap.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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