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[oh-ver-kom-puh n-sey-shuh n] /ˈoʊ vərˌkɒm pənˈseɪ ʃən/
noun, Psychoanalysis.
a pronounced striving to neutralize and conceal a strong but unacceptable character trait by substituting for it an opposite trait.
compensation to an unnecessary or unreasonable degree:
The pay was overcompensation for the work done.
Origin of overcompensation
1915-20; over- + compensation; as psychoanalytic term, translation of Überkompensation, coined by Alfred Adler
Related forms
[oh-ver-kuh m-pen-suh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈoʊ vər kəmˈpɛn səˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for overcompensation
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You not only have to judge time, but magnitude; overcompensation is ruinous, too.

    Unwise Child Gordon Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for overcompensation


(psychol) an attempt to make up for a character trait by overexaggerating its opposite
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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overcompensation in Medicine

overcompensation o·ver·com·pen·sa·tion (ō'vər-kŏm'pən-sā'shən)

  1. Excessive compensation, especially the exertion of effort beyond what is needed to compensate for a physical or psychological characteristic or defect.

  2. An extreme neurotic striving for power or prestige because of a feeling of inferiority.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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