• synonyms


[verb oh-ver-lap; noun oh-ver-lap]
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verb (used with object), o·ver·lapped, o·ver·lap·ping.
  1. to lap over (something else or each other); extend over and cover a part of; imbricate.
  2. to cover and extend beyond (something else): The ends of cloth overlap the table.
  3. to coincide in part with; have in common with: two lives that overlapped each other.
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verb (used without object), o·ver·lapped, o·ver·lap·ping.
  1. to lap over: two sales territories that overlap; fields of knowledge that overlap.
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  1. an act or instance of overlapping.
  2. the extent or amount of overlapping: The second story of the building has an overlap of ten feet.
  3. an overlapping part.
  4. the place of overlapping.
  5. (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.
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Origin of overlap

First recorded in 1685–95; over- + lap2
Related formsnon·o·ver·lap·ping, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for overlapping

extending, projecting, overlying, protruding, coincidental, jugate, lapstrake, obvolute

Examples from the Web for overlapping

Contemporary Examples of overlapping

Historical Examples of overlapping

  • However, the sight of the roses, overlapping the water-jug, pacified him; they smelt so sweet.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • So each corner was formed by these interlacing and overlapping ends.

    The Boy Settlers

    Noah Brooks

  • The overlapping plates (D) and the bolts (E) hold the joint rigidly.

  • The enemy, however, kept on advancing, and overlapping his force on both flanks.

  • They are all overlapping now, instead of lying side by side.'

    Just So Stories

    Rudyard Kipling

British Dictionary definitions for overlapping


verb (ˌəʊvəˈlæp) -laps, -lapping or -lapped
  1. (of two things) to extend or lie partly over (each other)
  2. to cover and extend beyond (something)
  3. (intr) to coincide partly in time, subject, etc
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noun (ˈəʊvəˌlæp)
  1. a part that overlaps or is overlapped
  2. the amount, length, etc, overlapping
  3. the act or fact of overlapping
  4. a place of overlapping
  5. 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
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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 overlapping



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

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1813, from overlap (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

overlapping in Medicine


  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.
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  1. To lie over and partly cover something.
  2. To perform a surgical overlap.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.