from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having regularly arranged, overlapping edges, as roof tiles or fish scales.
  • transitive v. To overlap in a regular pattern.
  • intransitive v. To be arranged with regular overlapping edges.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having regular overlapping edges; intertwined.
  • v. To overlap in a regular pattern.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Bent and hollowed like a roof or gutter tile.
  • adj. Lying over each other in regular order, so as to “break joints,” like tiles or shingles on a roof, the scales on the leaf buds of plants and the cups of some acorns, or the scales of fishes; overlapping each other at the margins, as leaves in æstivation.
  • adj. In decorative art: Having scales lapping one over the other, or a representation of such scales
  • transitive v. To lay in order, one lapping over another, so as to form an imbricated surface.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lay or lap one over another, so as to break joint, as or like tiles or shingles, either with parts all in one horizontal row or circle (as in the estivation of a calyx or corolla, when at least one piece must be wholly external and one internal), or with the tips of lower parts covering the bases of higher ones in a succession of rows or spiral ranks.
  • To overlap serially.
  • Bent and hollowed like a gutter-tile or pantile.
  • Lying one over another or lapping, like tiles on a roof; parallel, with a straight surface, and lying or lapping one over another, as the scales on the leaf-buds of plants, the scales of fishes and of reptiles, or the feathers of birds.
  • Decorated with a pattern resembling a surface of lapping tiles.
  • Consisting of lines or curves giving a resemblance to a surface of overlapping tiles: as, an imbricate pattern.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. place so as to overlap
  • v. overlap
  • adj. used especially of leaves or bracts; overlapping or layered as scales or shingles


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin imbricātus, covered with roof tiles, from imbrex, imbric-, roof tile, from imber, imbr-, rain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin imbricatus ("tiled").


  • Snarge (the mess left when a bird collides with a plane, I read about how the birds are indentified by said remains); imbricate (some research on humor produced this one -- to overlap like tiles or fish scales) and euglossine (a type of bee that pollinates orchids).

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • One of the most remarkable characters of the genus _Caecilia_, which it shares with about two-thirds of the known genera of the order, is the presence of thin, cycloid, imbricate scales imbedded in the skin, a character only to be detected by raising the epidermis near the dermal folds, which more or less completely encircle the body.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4 "Bulgaria" to "Calgary"

  • _The spikelets_ are about 1/8 inch, imbricate, a sessile and a stalked one from the top of each joint, greenish or purple.

    A Handbook of Some South Indian Grasses

  • The spikelets are small, 1-flowered, laterally compressed, sessile, alternately 2-seriate and imbricate on one side of the rachis.

    A Handbook of Some South Indian Grasses

  • The _leaf-blade_ is convolute when young, ovate or ovate-lanceolate, variable from 1/4 to 2 inches long and 1/10 to 1/6 inch wide, acuminate, flat or somewhat wavy, glabrous on both the surfaces, rigidly pungent, densely crowded and distichously imbricate in the lower part of the stem, base is amplexicaul, and the margin is distantly serrate and rigidly ciliate.

    A Handbook of Some South Indian Grasses

  • The _spikelets_ are biseriate, loosely imbricate, ovate, acute, pubescent or villous (sometimes quite glabrous), sessile or shortly pedicelled; the pedicels have one or two (rarely more) long hairs.

    A Handbook of Some South Indian Grasses

  • _Involucels_ usually with two, rarely three spikelets, loosely imbricate, rounded at the base; the inner bristles are erect, dorsally flat, subulate-lanceolate, puberulous and with thickened margins, about 1/8 inch long.

    A Handbook of Some South Indian Grasses

  • Spikelets sessile and jointed on the very short densely crowded branchlets of a tall, narrow raceme like panicle, deciduous, acute, much compressed, imbricate and secund 7.

    A Handbook of Some South Indian Grasses

  • The _spikelets_ are densely imbricate, binate at each joint, the upper being shortly pedicelled and the lower sessile or subsessile.

    A Handbook of Some South Indian Grasses

  • The _leaf-sheath_ is glabrous, faintly and finely striate, distichously imbricate, compressed, somewhat keeled, outer margin ciliate, and bearded at the mouth.

    A Handbook of Some South Indian Grasses


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  • INTERESTING CITATION/USAGE: From "La Place de la Concode Suisse" by John McPhee: "They are descending into Brig--Roman Brig, staging point for travelers preparing to cross the Simplon, a historically imbricate town. To walk to its center from the outside is to go from basketball courts to light industry into neighborhoods of the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries and on into Renaissance vestiges and cobblestoned medieval streets."

    September 21, 2009

  • I learned this word when I read an essay my brother wrote years ago. I was already old and deep into words then, so I was shocked to find a word I'd never seen or heard before.

    January 1, 2008

  • Wow, those are big words for the New York Times.

    October 28, 2007

  • "Actually, as Ross makes clear, the alternatives are mutually implicated and imbricated: 'precisely because of its inarticulate nature,' music is 'all too easily imprinted with ideologies and deployed to political ends.'"

    - The New York Times, October 28, 2007

    October 28, 2007

  • found in the poem Asparagus by Robin Robertson (form Switherling

    "...the dark tip --slubbed and imbricate

    December 15, 2006