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[v. in-ley, in-ley; n. in-ley] /v. ˈɪnˌleɪ, ˌɪnˈleɪ; n. ˈɪnˌleɪ/
verb (used with object), inlaid, inlaying.
to decorate (an object) with layers of fine materials set in its surface:
to inlay a chest with lighter wood.
to insert or apply (layers of fine materials) in the surface of an object:
to inlay marble in a tabletop.
Horticulture. to place (a fitted scion) into a prepared stock, as in a method of grafting.
inlaid work.
a layer of fine material inserted in something else, especially for ornament.
a design or decoration made by inlaying.
Dentistry. a filling of metal, porcelain, or the like, that is first shaped to fit a cavity and then cemented into it.
Horticulture, inlay graft.
the act or process of inlaying.
Origin of inlay
1590-1600; in-1 + lay1
Related forms
inlayer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inlay
  • The area rug in this outdoor living room is actually brick inlay.
  • Aptly named, the palace features a white marble exterior and a multicolored marble inlay for the floor of the interior.
  • As each piece is handcrafted, exact colors and patterns of the inlay may vary.
  • They are best approached as freestanding shaped paintings made of stained wood inlay.
  • Remove any remaining paper inlay from the back of the cloth.
  • The inlay, a dancing skeleton holding a rose, covers a plate just below the bridge.
British Dictionary definitions for inlay


verb (transitive) (ɪnˈleɪ) -lays, -laying, -laid
to decorate (an article, esp of furniture, or a surface) by inserting pieces of wood, ivory, etc, into prepared slots in the surface
noun (ˈɪnˌleɪ)
(dentistry) a filling, made of gold, porcelain, etc, inserted into a cavity and held in position by cement
decoration made by inlaying
an inlaid article, surface, etc
Derived Forms
inlayer, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for inlay

1590s (v.), 1650s (n.), from in + lay. Related: Inlaid.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inlay in Medicine

inlay in·lay (ĭn'lā', ĭn-lā')

  1. A solid filling, as of gold or porcelain, fitted to a cavity in a tooth and cemented into place.

  2. A graft of bone, skin, or other tissue.

  3. An orthomechanical device inserted into a shoe.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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