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inlay Syllabification: in·lay

Definition of inlay in English:


Pronunciation: /ˌinˈlā/
(past and past participle inlaid) [with object] (usually be inlaid)
1Ornament (an object) by embedding pieces of a different material in it, flush with its surface: mahogany paneling inlaid with rosewood
More example sentences
  • The Sheraton card table between the windows is inlaid with rectangular birch panels and was made in Boston about 1805.
  • The eyes themselves were originally inlaid with another material, which has unfortunately been lost.
  • Some plaques are carved with dragons, phoenixes and flowers, some are even inlaid with pearls and jade.
1.1Embed (something) into the surface of an object: a small silver crown was inlaid in the wood
More example sentences
  • The jet buttons had been brought from 250 km away, and one of them was decorated with a cruciform design made by selectively dulling the polished surface and inlaying metallic tin, which must have been imported from south-west England.
  • Carved ornaments were widely used in the Qing style furniture, into which bone and glass were frequently inlaid.
  • There follows the process of outlining, inlaying gold, painting and finishing.
1.2Insert (a page, an illustration, etc.) in a space cut in a larger thicker page.


Pronunciation: /ˈinˌlā/
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1A design, pattern, or piece of material inlaid in something: ivory inlays that decorated wooden furnishings
More example sentences
  • Both guns are spruced up with sterling thumb piece inlays on the wrist.
  • You can use a router to cut mortises for hardware, to joint and trim lumber, to create recesses for decorative inlays, and much more.
  • The high ceilings were arched and crossed with wooden inlays in a repeating diamond pattern.
1.1A material or substance that is inlaid.
Example sentences
  • Mosaic has been occasionally used as exterior decoration on the façades of medieval churches and modern architecture; it has also been used as a furniture inlay and to create small-scale portable pictures.
  • The materials describe the natural African environment, and indigenous wood inlays and local granite were used.
1.2Inlaid work: the cathedral was decorated with mosaic and inlay
More example sentences
  • But a hundred years later, the revival of the earlier style would have included profuse inlay.
  • They were basically copying our designs for expensive wood inlay but using their labor and materials to beat us on price.
1.3The technique of inlaying material.
Example sentences
  • Or maybe it is her masterful use of gold inlay, a technique derived from Renaissance artists.
  • The furniture reflects both German ivory inlay and designs on textiles produced locally for the European market.
  • However, the style of wood inlay can bring unique detail to your rooms.
2A filling shaped to fit a tooth cavity.
Example sentences
  • In the ninth century the Mayans placed decorative inlays in anterior teeth.
  • A temporary filling is placed to protect the tooth while the laboratory uses the mould to make the inlay or onlay.
  • He had the gold inlays removed from his teeth to project a better image.
3chiefly British A printed card or paper insert supplied with a CD, video, etc. [as modifier]: an inlay card
More example sentences
  • When they left I printed out some CD inlay cards for my backups, which did nothing to help achieve an early night, which was this evening's project.
  • In the newer version, there would also be a machine on hand which could print the inlay and documentation at the same time - all the shop need to is supply the box and disk.
  • I am also full of admiration for his enlightened essay which sheds some interesting facts on the Breughel reproduction printed on the front of the inlay card.


Pronunciation: /ˌinˈlāər/


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'lay something in a place in order to hide or preserve it'): from in-2 'into' + lay1.

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