There are 2 main definitions of underlay in English:

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underlay 1

verb (past and past participle underlaid)

Pronunciation: /ʌndəˈleɪ/
[with object]
Place something under (something else), especially to support or raise it: the green fields are underlaid with limestone the synth arpeggios start, underlaid by a lovely theme on bass
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Their disappointment and social difficulties underlaid their petitions and appeals to authority.


Pronunciation: /ˈʌndəleɪ/
[mass noun]
1Something placed under or behind something else, especially material laid under a carpet for protection or support: providing the proper underlay gives the carpet extra life a polka-dot skirt with net underlay
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
2 Music The manner in which the words are fitted to the notes of a piece of vocal music.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Furnishing a secure, seamless underlay is, of course, the composer's role.
  • Despite the electronic underlay, the album seems to have more affinities with rock music than with most contemporary electronica.


Old English underlecgan (see under-, lay1).

Words that rhyme with underlay

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There are 2 main definitions of underlay in English:

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underlay 2

Pronunciation: /ˈʌndəleɪ/
Past tense of underlie.
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