[in-leyd, in-leyd]


set into the surface of something: an inlaid design on a chest.
decorated or made with a design set into the surface: an inlaid table.

Origin of inlaid

First recorded in 1590–1600; past participle of inlay
Related formsun·in·laid, adjective


[verb in-ley, in-ley; noun in-ley]

verb (used with object), in·laid, in·lay·ing.

to decorate (an object) with layers of fine materials set in its surface: to inlay a chest with lighter wood.
to insert or apply (layers of fine materials) in the surface of an object: to inlay marble in a tabletop.
Horticulture. to place (a fitted scion) into a prepared stock, as in a method of grafting.


inlaid work.
a layer of fine material inserted in something else, especially for ornament.
a design or decoration made by inlaying.
Dentistry. a filling of metal, porcelain, or the like, that is first shaped to fit a cavity and then cemented into it.
Horticulture. inlay graft.
the act or process of inlaying.

Origin of inlay

First recorded in 1590–1600; in-1 + lay1
Related formsin·lay·er, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for inlaid

decorate, trim, veneer, inset, tessellate

Examples from the Web for inlaid

Contemporary Examples of inlaid

Historical Examples of inlaid

  • He found its owner directing two men where to place an inlaid cabinet.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • Upon his head was a crown, on which were inlaid or set precious stones.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • And there is an inlaid box I lent her—lent, not gave—to keep her handkerchiefs in.

  • He took her to mean the inlaid box, and said that she need not give it up at all.

  • Preceding her, he led the way to a room of which the floor, inlaid and waxed, was rugless.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

British Dictionary definitions for inlaid



set in the surface, as a design in wood
having such a design or inlayan inlaid table


verb (ɪnˈleɪ) -lays, -laying or -laid (tr)

to decorate (an article, esp of furniture, or a surface) by inserting pieces of wood, ivory, etc, into prepared slots in the surface

noun (ˈɪnˌleɪ)

dentistry a filling, made of gold, porcelain, etc, inserted into a cavity and held in position by cement
decoration made by inlaying
an inlaid article, surface, etc
Derived Formsinlayer, noun
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

Word Origin and History for inlaid

1590s, from in + laid, past participle of lay (v.).


1590s (v.), 1650s (n.), from in + lay. Related: Inlaid.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

inlaid in Medicine


[ĭnlā′, ĭn-lā]


A solid filling, as of gold or porcelain, fitted to a cavity in a tooth and cemented into place.
A graft of bone, skin, or other tissue.
An orthomechanical device inserted into a shoe.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.