From Middle English underleyen, from Old English underleċġan (“to underlay, prop, support”), equivalent to under- + lay. Cognate with Dutch onderleggen (“to lay or put under”), German unterlegen (“to underlay”), Swedish underlägga (“to underlay”).
- simple past tense of
- (transitive) To lay (something) underneath something else; to put under.
- (transitive) To provide a support for something; to raise or support by something laid under.
- to underlay a cut, plate, or the like, for printing
- (transitive) To put a tap on (a shoe).
- (mining, intransitive, of a vein, fault, or lode) To incline from the vertical; to hade.
underlay (plural underlays)
- A layer (of earth, etc.) that lies under another; substratum.
- A soft floor covering that lies under a carpet.
- Anything that is underlaid.
- (printing, historical) A piece of paper pasted under woodcuts, stereotype plates, etc. in a form, to bring them up to the necessary level for printing.
- (music) Lyrics; or more specifically, the way in which lyrics are assigned to musical notes.
- The underlay in bar 3 is unclear in Handel's manuscript.