- something laid over something else; covering.
- a layer or decoration of something applied: an overlay of gold.
- a shaped piece of paper, or a sheet of paper reinforced at the proper places by shaped pieces, put on the tympan of a press to increase or equalize the impression.
- a method of preparing copy for multicolor printing, in which matter for each color is prepared on a transparent sheet that is placed over a key plate, usually the one to be printed in black.
- the sheet or sheets so prepared.
- a sheet of transparent paper placed over a photograph, a dummy, or other artwork for noting corrections, instructions, mechanical separations, etc.
- Computers. software or data in external storage and brought into main storage for execution by replacing or augmenting software or data already there.
- a transparent sheet giving special military information not ordinarily shown on maps, used by being placed over the map on which it is based.
- a decorative piece of leather or other material stitched on a shoe.
- Scot. a cravat.
Origin of overlay1
- simple past tense of overlie.
- to lie over or upon, as a covering or stratum.
- to smother (an infant) by lying upon it, as in sleep.
Origin of overlie
Examples from the Web for overlay
Contemporary Examples of overlay
Phillips mediates the darkness of the crime with an overlay of fiction.Murder, She Wrote: Jayne Anne Phillips on Her New Novel
October 21, 2013
You can also overlay census data showing where the population of women of reproductive age (15–44) live.Interactive: The Geography of Abortion Access
Michael Keller, Allison Yarrow
January 22, 2013
And the disclosure that Abedin is pregnant added an overlay of pathos to the seamy tale.Weiner’s Last Words
June 16, 2011
Waspiness is an overlay on human character, like the porcelain veneer that protects the biting surface of a damaged tooth.The Last of the Wasps
September 27, 2009
Historical Examples of overlay
Ah, no; to overlay it with new shames, to groan over in new vigils.Despair's Last Journey
David Christie Murray
There is a disagreeable saline flavour that we cannot remove nor overlay.Mushroom Culture
The top is covered with a Swiss overlay pattern, made of split sticks.Rustic Carpentry
Paul N. Hasluck
How we should tremble to overlay the record of it with our words!The Gospel of St. John
Frederick Denison Maurice
But, it may be asked, what has become of the beds that overlay the granite?A Book of the West. Volume I Devon
- to lay or place something over or upon (something else)
- (often foll by with) to cover, overspread, or conceal (with)
- (foll by with) to cover (a surface) with an applied decorationebony overlaid with silver
- to achieve the correct printing pressure all over (a forme or plate) by adding to the appropriate areas of the packing
- something that is laid over something else; covering
- an applied decoration or layer, as of gold leaf
- a transparent sheet giving extra details to a map or diagram over which it is designed to be placed
- printing material, such as paper, used to overlay a forme or plate
- to lie or rest uponCompare overlay
- to kill (a baby or newborn animal) by lying upon it
Word Origin and History for overlay
"to cover the surface of (something)," c.1300, in part from Old English oferlecgan "to place over," also "to overburden," and in part from over- + lay (v.). There also was an overlie in Middle English, but it merged into this word. Similar compounds are found in other Germanic languages, e.g. Gothic ufarlagjan. Related: Overlaid; overlaying.
in the printing sense, 1824, from overlay (v.). Meaning "transparent sheet over a map, chart, etc." is from 1938. In earliest noun use it meant "a necktie" (1725).