Main definitions of overlay in English

: overlay1overlay2



  • 1Cover the surface of (a thing) with a coating.

    ‘their fingernails were overlaid with silver or gold’
    • ‘The rest is overlaid by gradations of watered blue that have soaked into the canvas and recall stylized waves and clouds.’
    • ‘To achieve the texture she desired in her pastels she used a type of paper overlaid with pumice or sand in the 1920s.’
    • ‘The entire deck is overlaid with a 50 mm thick layer of asphaltic concrete.’
    • ‘These areas are then overlaid with a curious but beautiful, whitish veil-like layer, as if to remind us that her scenes are fictive.’
    • ‘In the rest of the house all parts were overlaid with gold and adorned with gems and mother-of-pearl.’
    • ‘In several examples, the base metal is overlaid with silver, and many of the inlays are gold or silver.’
    • ‘The unidentified base metals are overlaid with silver.’
    • ‘It's as though their scales are overlaid with black lace.’
    • ‘The plates were then overlaid with an alkaline phosphatase assay solution.’
    • ‘These labels were overlaid with a sheet of self adhesive clear plastic film from a high street stationer and distributed to the house staff.’
    • ‘In the heavier thicknesses first overlay or butter the steel with the same filler metal and then weld the overlayed surface to the copper.’
    cover, face, surface, veneer, inlay, laminate
    carpet, blanket, swathe, cloak, veil, shroud
    overspread, encrust, smear, daub, bedaub, coat, plaster, plate, varnish, glaze, wash, suffuse
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Lie on top of.
      ‘a third screen which will overlay the others’
      • ‘Anatomical images have been overlaid with translucent, hand drawn figures.’
      • ‘Could those boundaries have been overlaid on the summary map?’
      • ‘These images were digitized and overlaid on a computer screen.’
      • ‘She seems to be having some kind of a disco thing going on, with her screen overlaid three times on top of itself and a hundred horizontal bars racing up and down the picture.’
      • ‘Imagine an integer grid overlaid on top of the puzzle with the origin at the center of the board.’
      • ‘Decorations covered the walls and rugs overlaid the floor.’
      • ‘These images of well-known totalitarian architecture are overlaid with hazy blue patinas.’
      • ‘Roads, trails, and streams were overlaid on cover maps to examine territory placement in relation to canopy gaps.’
      • ‘It looked as if the long wait was finally over when the estate agents' sign outside was overlaid with a ‘Sold’ sticker.’
      • ‘The results are displayed on a screen and often overlaid on a map.’
  • 2(of a quality or feeling) become more prominent than (a previous quality or feeling)

    ‘his openness had been overlaid by his new self-confidence’
    • ‘Consequently, the difficult circumstances of their current situation are at least partially overlaid by a larger faith in the dignity of labor, the power of collective action, and the ultimate triumph of the working class.’
    • ‘Early detection of Addison's disease is not easy: non-specific symptoms and fatigue may be overlaid by signs of depression (as is also the case with hypothyroidism).’
    • ‘Football retained tenacious local loyalties, overlaid by denominational and social rivalries, mediated by the search for success and corresponding reward.’
    • ‘And then overlaying all of that, is the security concern.’
    • ‘Any of us can become terrified at any moment if fear overlays us.’


  • 1Something laid as a covering over something else.

    ‘a durable, cost-effective floor overlay’
    • ‘Films, coatings, and overlays generally become less cost effective as production quantities increase, especially when the entire surface of work pieces must be hardened.’
    • ‘Some control surfaces get around the label problem with plastic overlays.’
    • ‘A second overlay or layer is recommended on thicker materials.’
    • ‘More often, overlays are used by centers that did not maintain lanes properly in the past.’
    • ‘Lace is very popular on its own or as trimming - expect to see it worn during the day and used as an overlay for evening dresses.’
    • ‘Watch how the pros produce stunning decorative overlays from start to finish, including surface preparation, pre-overlay repair, placing, and finishing.’
    • ‘When shown a black number seven, these people begin to interpret it as a seven and see a yellow-coloured overlay on the digit even though they know the number is in black.’
    • ‘The company's warehouse floor serves as a testing ground for new finishes, overlays, and polishing techniques.’
    • ‘Stardek floor and wall overlay forms a strong, long-lasting bond with concrete and a range of other building materials.’
    • ‘The liveliest of these were his watercolors, which imposed a certain delicacy of touch to his reliance on overlays of transparent washes to create complicated tonal weathers.’
    • ‘The bride looked radiant in an ivory gown of duchess satin, consisting of a bodice top with an overlay of embroidered lace and buttoning detail on the back.’
    • ‘The road-cuts there expose a deep overlay of sandy soil, very different from the black topsoil elsewhere in Iowa.’
    • ‘It occurs to me that one of the reasons the fake overlays work is that real ATMs these days are often so shoddily designed that they already look fake.’
    • ‘The dust jacket comes in two parts, a paper jacket and a transparent overlay.’
    • ‘Trim the sheer overlay even with fashion fabric all around.’
    • ‘In general, the concrete overlays appear to be effective in decreasing the rate of concrete deterioration.’
    • ‘With a new concrete overlay, however, the mile-long, two-lane pavement was placed in 20 calendar days.’
    • ‘Some distant street lights are casting patches of yellow criss-crossing branches as an overlay on the swirling flat ice surface.’
    • ‘This means they are not guaranteeing that the trim, the dress, the overlay, the lining, etc. or any part thereof will withstand soaking in water.’
    • ‘The literature says to space joints in feet the same as the thickness of the overlay in inches, but we wanted to try something different.’
    covering, layer, face, surface, veneer, lamination, encrustation, carpet, blanket, sheet, curtain, canopy, cover, cloak, veil, pall, shroud, screen, mask, cloud, envelope
    coat, smear, daub, plating, varnish, glaze, wash
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A transparency placed over artwork or something such as a map, marked with additional information or detail.
      • ‘Soon the Army began innovation, turning to transparent overlays instead of blocks so that a permanent record of each move could be made.’
      • ‘Later an expansion was released that included a map overlay and two additional sets of player pieces.’
      • ‘Transparent overlays of green designated the bands that the Harrisons propose to return to nature.’
      • ‘Other diagrams are presented as overlays onto photographed images.’
      • ‘This was done by making an exact one-sixth scale photographic reproduction of the painting and tracing the principal lines of the composition onto a clear transparent overlay.’
      • ‘The semi-transparent overlay sheet can easily be folded back for placing photos or illustrations underneath for the purpose of tracing those images into your favorite editor.’
      • ‘The third overlay depicts information available on finances, business transactions, assets, and related issues.’
      • ‘Moreover, there were no paper maps or graphical overlays.’
      • ‘Selected reconnaissance areas are usually presented on a map overlay.’
      • ‘The structure of the painting reveals itself as do those anatomical diagrams with transparent overlays illustrating the separate skeletal, circulatory, pulmonary and muscular systems.’
      • ‘Circle the corresponding number on the reader service card for more information about stampable vertical overlays.’
      • ‘Analysts may create additional overlays as needed.’
      • ‘The old drawing would simply have an overlay put over it illustrating the new detail.’
      • ‘Use tracing paper overlays and a soft pencil to sketch new landscape ideas and plans over your base map.’
      • ‘The two floorplans shown in the Appendix were photocopied onto acetate sheets that were used as overlays to classify the location of each unusual experience.’
      • ‘The age of the map hoard with its acetate overlays and alcohol pens should be over.’
    2. 1.2A graphical computer display that can be superimposed on another.
      • ‘Actually, these head-to-head duels play out on a computer screen, superimposed in digital video overlay.’
      • ‘Channel surfing was quick and the overlay offered a lot of extra info about a program, including an original air date (I can't even get that info on my TiVo).’
      • ‘This will deliver what ANT calls a next generation user interface, which includes dynamic, animated and blended information overlays, suitable for a range of TV programs and for interactive services.’
      • ‘Unlike other systems, the device is not an overlay on the plasma display causing image degradation.’
      • ‘Subscribers can also chat through a transparent overlay on their TV screen.’
  • 2Computing
    The process of transferring a block of program code or other data into internal memory, replacing what is already stored.

    • ‘New code was added to Maya to remove the requirement for hardware overlay in order to provide compatibility even with nonaccelerated drivers.’
    1. 2.1A block of code or other data transferred during the overlay process.
      • ‘In addition, MCS-L does not allow users to relate or join external user-defined databases to overlays.’

Main definitions of overlay in English

: overlay1overlay2