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I have a set of three images, which I have put on top of each other in an image editing program and made transparent. I would like the filename to describe what I have done with the component images.

Which is the correct phrase to use for the filename in this situation: "Overlain Images" or "Overlaid Images"?

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closed as general reference by Matt E. Эллен, tchrist, MετάEd, Barrie England, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Feb 14 '13 at 15:50

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Overlain vs overlaid – Matt E. Эллен Feb 14 '13 at 14:53
A complete set of conjugates is provided here. verbix.com/webverbix/English/overlie.html – Kris Feb 14 '13 at 14:58
see also: overlain v. overlaid en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Talk:overlay – Kris Feb 14 '13 at 15:08
Layered images? – Mohit Feb 14 '13 at 15:08
Thanks for asking. – PatrickT Nov 13 '13 at 6:45

There are two different verbs at play here:

  1. Overlie; past overlay, past participle overlain.
  2. Overlay; past overlaid, past participle overlaid.

They have overlapping meanings, but it is overlay that is used of superimposed images. It is also overlay that exists as a noun for such a superimposed or covering item.

Hence, you want overlaid.

Better still, just use the plural noun overlays (all the more so, since the components are overlaid while stored in separate files, but overlay the noun does include things that are intended to be overlaid, as well as things that currently are overlaid, and the term has an established use in terms of superimposed computer images).

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very clear, thanks! – PatrickT Nov 13 '13 at 6:45

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