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Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To put (one thing) under another.
  • transitive v. To provide with a base or support.
  • transitive v. Printing To raise or support (the level of a bed) by inserting a piece of paper or other material under the type.
  • n. Something, such as felt under a carpet, that is underlaid. Also called underlayment.
  • n. Printing Paper or other material used to underlay.
  • v. Past tense of underlie.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. Simple past of underlie.
  • v. To lay something underneath something else
  • v. To provide a support for something
  • n. A layer (of earth, etc.) that lies under another; substratum.
  • n. A soft floor covering that lies under a carpet.
  • n. Anything that is underlaid
  • n. Lyrics; or more specifically, the way in which lyrics are assigned to musical notes.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To lay beneath; to put under.
  • transitive v. To raise or support by something laid under. See Underlay, n., 2.
  • transitive v. To put a tap on (a shoe).
  • intransitive v. To incline from the vertical; to hade; -- said of a vein, fault, or lode.
  • n. The inclination of a vein, fault, or lode from the vertical; a hade; -- called also underlie.
  • n. A thickness of paper, pasteboard, or the like, placed under a cut, or stereotype plate, or under type, in the form, to bring it, or any part of it, to the proper height; also, something placed back of a part of the tympan, so as to secure the right impression.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lay beneath; put under; specifically, in printing, to reinforce with underlays.
  • To support by laying something under.
  • In mining, to incline from the perpendicular; hade: said of a vein. See the noun.
  • n. In mining, same as hade.
  • n. In printing, a bit or bits of paper put under types or a plate to make them of proper height for receiving a good impression.

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

  • v. put (something) under or beneath
  • n. a pad placed under a carpet
  • v. raise or support (the level of printing) by inserting a piece of paper or cardboard under the type
  • v. provide with a base, support, lining, or backing

Etymologies

From Middle English underleyen, from Old English underlecgan ("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"). (Wiktionary)

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