Definition of imbricate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈimbrəˌkāt/
chiefly Zoology & Botany


(usually as adjective imbricated)
1Arrange (scales, sepals, plates, etc.) so that they overlap like roof tiles: these molds have spherical bodies composed of imbricated triangular plates
More example sentences
  • Now, we know that when reptiles have imbricated scales, we do find dermal muscles.
  • Instead, the most parsimonious interpretation is that the sellate sclerites were probably imbricated in anterior-posterior rows.
  • The sellate sclerites were probably imbricated posteriorly along their duplicature and sella sides.
1.1 [no object] (usually as adjective imbricating) Overlap: a coating of imbricating scales
More example sentences
  • But, unlike modern fishes, most thelodont squamation, especially in the cephalopectoral region, was not imbricating.
  • This means that ‘apparently distant’ forms of life imbricate deeply because the same ontological mechanisms responsible for anthropogenesis treat nonhuman forms of life as similarly negative in their unlikeness to human life.
  • The Mannin Thrust is identified as a major imbricating structure within a continental arc, but not a terrane boundary.


Pronunciation: /ˈēmbrəkət/
(Of scales, sepals, plates, etc.) having adjacent edges overlapping. Compare with valvate.
Example sentences
  • It has terminal, fascicled inflorescences of several scarlet flowers covered by imbricate, scarious sheaths, and the labellum margins are fused with the column forming a short, saccate nectary spur.
  • They discussed the relationship of the various major thrusts to each other and to adjacent imbricate thrust systems.
  • However, if imbricate structures of folds are truncated by low-angle thrusts, the decapitated upper portions of the systems should be found, carried off towards the foreland.



Pronunciation: /ˌimbrəˈkāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • It is unclear when the biotite gneisses were imbricated with the cover units or what controlled the imbrication.
  • She is in many ways articulating an imbrication between two structures of patriarchy.
  • Or, more accurately, it is necessary to address the mutual imbrication of these two articulated spatialising ‘domains of practice’ (Dixon).


Early 17th century (in the sense 'shaped like a pantile'): from Latin imbricat- 'covered with roof tiles', from the verb imbricare, from imbrex, imbric- 'roof tile' (from imber 'shower of rain').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: im·bri·cate

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