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[oh-ver-bair] /ˌoʊ vərˈbɛər/
verb (used with object), overbore, overborne, overbearing.
to bear over or down by weight or force:
With his superior strength he easily overbore his opponent in the fight.
to overcome or overwhelm:
A spirited defense had overborne the enemy attack.
to prevail over or overrule (wishes, objections, etc.):
She overbore all objections to the new plan.
to treat in a domineering way; dominate:
to overbear one's children with threats of violence.
Nautical. (of a sailing ship) to have the advantage of (another sailing ship) because of an ability to carry more canvas safely.
verb (used without object), overbore, overborne, overbearing.
to produce fruit or progeny so abundantly as to impair the health.
Origin of overbear
First recorded in 1525-35; over- + bear1
Related forms
overbearer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for overbear
Historical Examples
  • Whatever the reasons for having deserted him he was determined to overbear.

    Gerald Fitzgerald Charles James Lever
  • Calm, cool, firm self-possession seemed to overbear all other feelings.

    Blue Lights R.M. Ballantyne
  • There are times when the fiery heart of a man must overbear the cold brain of a soldier.

    Sir Nigel Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Does the sublime voice issue only to overbear and reduce him to silence?

  • The trees are inclined to overbear, in which case the fruits run small.

    The Pears of New York U. P. Hedrick
  • Vine variable in vigor, productive, healthy, often inclined to overbear.

    The Grapes of New York U. P. Hedrick
  • Was it that in the reserved Spaniard he had encountered a force which he could not overbear?

    The Incendiary W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
  • It is apt to overbear, break in pieces, and become almost worthless.

    The Apple Various
  • They are not very large; beautiful in color; have a tendency to overbear and grow in clusters.

    The Apple Various
  • For what voices are able to overbear the din with which our theatres resound?

British Dictionary definitions for overbear


verb -bears, -bearing, -bore, -borne
(transitive) to dominate or overcome: to overbear objections
(transitive) to press or bear down with weight or physical force
to produce or bear (fruit, progeny, etc) excessively
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 overbear

late 14c., "to carry over," from over- + bear (v.). Meaning "to bear down by weight of physical force" is from 1535 (in Coverdale), originally nautical, of an overwhelming wind; figurative sense of "to overcome and repress by power, authority, etc." is from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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