[ verb in-ley, in-ley; noun in-ley ]
See synonyms for: inlayinlaid on

verb (used with object),in·laid, in·lay·ing.
  1. to decorate (an object) with layers of fine materials set in its surface: to inlay a chest with lighter wood.

  2. to insert or apply (layers of fine materials) in the surface of an object: to inlay marble in a tabletop.

  1. Horticulture. to place (a fitted scion) into a prepared stock, as in a method of grafting.

  1. inlaid work.

  2. a layer of fine material inserted in something else, especially for ornament.

  1. a design or decoration made by inlaying.

  2. Dentistry. a filling of metal, porcelain, or the like, that is first shaped to fit a cavity and then cemented into it.

  3. Horticulture. inlay graft.

  4. the act or process of inlaying.

Origin of inlay

First recorded in 1590–1600; in-1 + lay1

Other words from inlay

  • inlayer, noun

Words Nearby inlay Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use inlay in a sentence

  • Wheel-lock of blued steel, with gold and silver inlay, and wheel-guard of tracery in thin gold.

    Armour in England | J. Starkie Gardner
  • The whole of the front lacks repose, a condition which is intensified by the black and white inlay of the flat surfaces.

    Cathedral Cities of Italy | William Wiehe Collins

British Dictionary definitions for inlay


verb(ɪnˈleɪ) -lays, -laying or -laid (tr)
  1. to decorate (an article, esp of furniture, or a surface) by inserting pieces of wood, ivory, etc, into prepared slots in the surface

  1. dentistry a filling, made of gold, porcelain, etc, inserted into a cavity and held in position by cement

  2. decoration made by inlaying

  1. an inlaid article, surface, etc

Derived forms of inlay

  • inlayer, 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