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[oh-ver-bawrd, -bohrd] /ˈoʊ vərˌbɔrd, -ˌboʊrd/
over the side of a ship or boat, especially into or in the water:
to fall overboard.
go overboard, to go to extremes, especially in regard to approval or disapproval of a person or thing:
I think the critics went overboard in panning that new show.
Origin of overboard
before 1000; Middle English over bord, Old English ofer bord. See over, board Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for go overboard
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They want the despatches they tricked me into carrying,” cried Hilary; “but they go overboard if I am beaten.

    In the King's Name George Manville Fenn
  • They must go overboard in the next squall, which will be upon us in a few minutes.

    Tessa Louis Becke
  • As it was, it was necessary for half the crew to go overboard, stand on the rock, and lift the canoe off.

  • You understand what is for my advantage is for yours, and, if I go wrong, you go overboard with me.

    The Guardian Angel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • But I should like one or two to remain behind with me before I go overboard.

  • He shouted also something about the smoke-stack being as likely to go overboard as not.

    Typhoon Joseph Conrad
  • "He may go into the steerage or go overboard," answered the chief, angrily.

    Outward Bound Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for go overboard


from on board a vessel into the water
(informal) go overboard
  1. to be extremely enthusiastic
  2. to go to extremes
throw overboard, to reject or abandon
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 go overboard



"over the side of a ship," Old English ofor bord, from over + bord "side of a ship" (see board (n.2)). Figurative sense of "excessively, beyond one's means" (especially in phrase go overboard) first attested 1931 in Damon Runyon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for go overboard

go overboard

verb phrase

  1. To be smitten with love or helpless admiration: He went overboard for her right away
  2. To commit oneself excessively or perilously; overdo: Take a couple, but don't go overboard
  3. jump off the deep end (1931+)


Related Terms

go overboard

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with go overboard

go overboard

Show excessive enthusiasm, act in an excessive way. For example, It's easy to go overboard with a new stock offering, or She really went overboard, hiring the most expensive caterer. [ Mid-1900s ]


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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