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[oh-ver-lahy-ing] /ˌoʊ vərˈlaɪ ɪŋ/
present participle of overlie.


[oh-ver-lahy] /ˌoʊ vərˈlaɪ/
verb (used with object), overlay, overlain, overlying.
to lie over or upon, as a covering or stratum.
to smother (an infant) by lying upon it, as in sleep.
Origin of overlie
First recorded in 1125-75, overlie is from the Middle English word overlien, overliggen. See over-, lie2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for overlying
Historical Examples
  • The red of nature had come into her cheeks and fought there with the overlying hue of art.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • Light was in his face, overlying the flush of simple passions.

    Rose MacLeod Alice Brown
  • The water, as it plunges down, undermines the overlying rock.

    Charles Lyell and Modern Geology Thomas George Bonney
  • They are of older date than the overlying and undisturbed coal-measures.

  • And no proof has been made from the nature or depth of the overlying deposits.

  • overlying this are beds of marl, loam, and surface soil, comprising in all a depth of fourteen feet.

    The Prehistoric World E. A. Allen
  • Below this surface soil is a stratum of sand, overlying the gravelly beds below and passing into the surface soil just mentioned.

    The Prehistoric World E. A. Allen
  • The fossils it bears are usually of species which swam in the overlying water and came to the bottom after death.

    Outlines of the Earth's History Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
  • It may be injected into the overlying strata in the form of dikes, or it may be blown forth into the air through volcanoes.

    Outlines of the Earth's History Nathaniel Southgate Shaler
  • Its great wealth is its deep black humus varying in depth from ten inches to three feet, overlying a warm subsoil.

British Dictionary definitions for overlying


verb (transitive) -lies, -lying, -lay, -lain
to lie or rest upon Compare overlay
to kill (a baby or newborn animal) by lying upon it
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 overlying



late 12c., from over- + lie (v.2), or from an unrecorded Old English *oferlicgan. "In use from 12th to 16th c.; in 17-18th displaced by overlay; reintroduced in 19th c., chiefly in geological use." [OED]. Related: Overlay; overlain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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