[ noun on-ley, awn-; verb on-ley, awn- ]
/ noun ˈɒnˌleɪ, ˈɔn-; verb ɒnˈleɪ, ɔn- /


an overlay, especially one in relief.
Dentistry. an inlay that restores the occlusal surface of a tooth.

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

to place or mount (an onlay) on a surface, especially for decorative purposes.

Nearby words

  1. onitsha,
  2. onium compound,
  3. onkelos,
  4. onkus,
  5. onlap,
  6. onliest,
  7. online,
  8. online catalog,
  9. online dictionary,
  10. online thesaurus

Origin of onlay

1875–80; on + lay1, after verb phrase lay on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for onlay

  • It disturbs the breadth, which is so valuable a characteristic of onlay.

    Art in Needlework|Lewis F. Day
  • Couched cord or filoselle is useful in covering the raw edge of the onlay, not so much masking the joints as making them sightly.

    Art in Needlework|Lewis F. Day

Medicine definitions for onlay


[ ŏnlā′ ]


A cast restoration, usually made of gold, that is attached to the occlusal surface of a tooth.
A bone graft applied to the exterior surface of the bone.

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