Main definitions of underlay in English

: underlay1underlay2



  • Place something under (something else), especially to support or raise it.

    ‘the green fields are underlaid with limestone’
    figurative ‘a whine underlaid by an occasional choking sob’
    • ‘The report has been criticized for its optimism, but reflects clearly the views on language which underlay the moves to a mass, comprehensive system of schooling through the 1960s - 70s.’
    • ‘The room smelled predominantly of the alcohol, but was underlaid with the smell of stew, which did wonders to improve my attitude towards the inn.’
    • ‘It was a woman's voice: quiet, controlled, underlaid with an odd note of entreaty.’
    • ‘I took vengeful joy in the smattering of boos that underlaid the applause, though.’
    • ‘We, as a society, have a tendency to blame children for the behaviors that they display, rather than attempting to understand what may underlay their actions.’
    • ‘The national park experiences moorland fires most years and the land recovers quite quickly, although if a major fire takes hold and gets through to underlaying peat it could take years to rejuvenate the land.’
    • ‘The passion that underlay her opinions - which could seem arbitrary at times, and were often as unpredictable as her temperament - was doubtless genuine.’
    • ‘‘Cause my knees are killing me and if we could move to the sofa I'd really appreciate it,’ his words were lighthearted but his concern underlaid them.’
    • ‘Although political motivations almost always underlay impeachments, the proceedings were judicial and significant evidence of wrongdoing was required for conviction.’
    • ‘This Finnish trio of cellists return with a driving and beautiful collection of songs featuring soaring string work underlaid by metal drumming and pre-programming to give the songs a searing edge.’
    • ‘Two factors, in particular, underlay this relapse.’
    • ‘It is the happening of an event, rather than any significance which may underlay it which has importance.’
    • ‘Their disappointment and social difficulties underlaid their petitions and appeals to authority.’
    • ‘But she was much less interested in counseling people than in understanding what underlay their need for counseling, she recalls.’
    • ‘A common culture, calendar, and mythology held the civilisation together and astronomy played an important part in the religion which underlay the whole life of the people.’
    • ‘There were profound political issues that underlay our choices about what we sang, and what we did and why we did it.’
    • ‘But the specifics of the U.S. proposal and its ultimate outcome are not as important as the sentiments that appear to underlay it.’
    • ‘The issue appears to be underlaid by something of a culture clash.’
    • ‘First, he pointed out that if the argument were right then in a great number of commercial cases the ability of a client to get legal advice in confidence (which underlay the doctrine of privilege) would be destroyed.’
    • ‘Elsa asked curiously, her voice underlaid with a hint of worry.’


  • 1Something placed under or behind something else, especially material laid under a carpet for protection or support.

    • ‘By recycling old carpets the team hope to reduce the pressure on landfill sites and provide a low-cost alternative to underlays currently available.’
    • ‘The 25-year-old burglar had fallen asleep on a roll of underlay and given himself away by snoring.’
    • ‘That underlay has now been surfaced with bitumen and chippings and has improved the structure and surface of the road.’
    • ‘It can cover wood floors in poor condition, and with the proper underlay, it can cover concrete floors.’
    • ‘The tyres will be turned into rubber crumbs and ploughed back into various industries to be used in sport, leisure, equestrian, civil engineering projects and carpet underlay.’
    • ‘The senior lecturer in environmental acoustics at the university, said the team will be looking at how to recycle old carpets into underlay.’
    • ‘Pavements especially had a thick carpet of white, concealing an underlay of frozen Teflon.’
    • ‘Bizarrely, the underlay can only be delivered on a weekday, but I can pick that up after work.’
    • ‘He was creating scenery from cereal packets, newspaper and carpet underlay.’
    • ‘Building their masterpieces out of various recyclable materials such as carpet underlay, tyres, foam tubing, leather belts and other pieces of junk lying around the shed, the list of materials and techniques are endless.’
    • ‘Waterproof my jacket may be, but when you have shoes that are made of little more than carpet underlay, the rain can be a dangerous thing.’
    • ‘I really only intended to get the floor prepared for carpet laying at the weekend, but in the end took up the vicious rods of nails that hold down the carpet along the bottom of the walls and removed the underlay, too.’
    • ‘For bathrooms, consider putting cork underlay on the walls.’
    • ‘They took about three hours to set down some new gripper strips, and lay down the new underlay and carpet.’
    • ‘The company recovers tyres from collectors and shreds them before selling the result as either lining for landfill sites or rubber crumb for all weather sports surfaces and carpet backing and underlay.’
    • ‘But when I came to move in, the underlay had been taken up, and there were four tiles missing from the hall and more from the living room.’
    • ‘Typically, mouse pads come as simple plastics or textile underlays, available in any electronics store, sometimes in basic and often unattractive designs.’
    1. 1.1Music The manner in which the words are fitted to the notes in a piece of vocal music.
      • ‘Despite the electronic underlay, the album seems to have more affinities with rock music than with most contemporary electronica.’
      • ‘Furnishing a secure, seamless underlay is, of course, the composer's role.’
      • ‘Horns would generally remain in the harmonic underlay, and trumpets be used for moments of brightness and assertiveness: brass instruments at this date, without keys, were restricted to rather few notes.’
      lining, interlining, facing, underlay, reinforcement
      View synonyms


Old English underlecgan (see under-, lay).

Main definitions of underlay in English

: underlay1underlay2