[ verb uhn-der-ley; noun uhn-der-ley ]

verb (used with object),un·der·laid, un·der·lay·ing.
  1. to lay under or beneath.

  2. to provide with something laid underneath; raise or support with something laid underneath: The manufacturer underlays the chrome finish with a zinc coating.

  1. to extend across the bottom of.

  1. something underlaid.

  2. Printing. a piece or pieces of paper put under type or cuts to bring them to the proper height for printing.

Origin of underlay

before 900; Middle English underleyen,Old English underlecgan;see under-, lay1

Words Nearby underlay

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use underlay in a sentence

  • Thus was paved the way for the abstractions that underlay the casino capitalism about which everybody now has nothing good to say.

    They Saw It Coming | Stanley Crouch | December 30, 2008 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • It was right that Liosha should be made aware of the emotional subtleties that underlay the bare facts.

    Jaffery | William J. Locke
  • The difference between Wilkins's and the Majestic resided in the theory which underlay its manner.

    The Regent | E. Arnold Bennett
  • Some dark villainy underlay this, and that the witch doctor was connected with it was borne in upon my mind without a doubt.

    A Frontier Mystery | Bertram Mitford
  • It glowed and iridesced in the sunlight as if gleaming up from underlay under underlay of red.

    The Red One | Jack London
  • The hills of Champagne, green with vines, and white as with an underlay of chalk, rose behind us.

    Lazarre | Mary Hartwell Catherwood

British Dictionary definitions for underlay


verb(ˌʌndəˈleɪ) -lays, -laying or -laid (tr)
  1. to place (something) under or beneath

  2. to support by something laid beneath

  1. to achieve the correct printing pressure all over (a forme block) or to bring (a block) up to type height by adding material, such as paper, to the appropriate areas beneath it

  1. a layer, lining, support, etc, laid underneath something else

  2. printing material, such as paper, used to underlay a forme or block

  1. felt, rubber, etc, laid beneath a carpet to increase insulation and resilience

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