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See more synonyms for overlie on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), o·ver·lay, o·ver·lain, o·ver·ly·ing.
  1. to lie over or upon, as a covering or stratum.
  2. to smother (an infant) by lying upon it, as in sleep.
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Origin of overlie

First recorded in 1125–75, overlie is from the Middle English word overlien, overliggen. See over-, lie2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for overlie

envelop, enfold, swathe, fold, ride, cover, twist, turn, override, wrap, swaddle, imbricate, shingle, overlie, flap, overlay, project, overhang, protrude, overrun

Examples from the Web for overlie

Historical Examples of overlie

  • Usually they enfeeble the sympathies, and often overlie and smother them.

    Imaginary Conversations and Poems

    Walter Savage Landor

  • The rocks that overlie the coal measures contain fossils of these gigantic animals.

  • Thick Tertiary deposits, probably Miocene, overlie the middle portions of the west coast.

  • These mountains are believed to overlie vast store of subterranean wealth in the form of petroleum.

    Unexplored Spain

    Abel Chapman

  • The feathers which overlie the whole body and bear the color pattern are called contour-feathers.

British Dictionary definitions for overlie


verb -lies, -lying, -lay or -lain (tr)
  1. to lie or rest uponCompare overlay
  2. to kill (a baby or newborn animal) by lying upon it
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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 overlie


late 12c., from over- + lie (v.2), or from an unrecorded Old English *oferlicgan. "In use from 12th to 16th c.; in 17-18th displaced by overlay; reintroduced in 19th c., chiefly in geological use." [OED]. Related: Overlay; overlain.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper