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[verb oh-ver-drahyv; noun oh-ver-drahyv] /verb ˌoʊ vərˈdraɪv; noun ˈoʊ vərˌdraɪv/
verb (used with object), overdrove, overdriven, overdriving.
to push or carry to excess; overwork.
to drive too hard.
Machinery, Automotive. a device containing a gear set at such ratio and arrangement as to provide a drive shaft speed greater than the engine crankshaft speed.
Informal. an intense state of activity or productivity:
The political campaign has shifted into overdrive.
Origin of overdrive
before 950; Middle English overdriven to cover over, overpower; Old English oferdrīfan to drive away, overthrow. See over-, drive Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for overdrive
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A ship from Orede had come out of overdrive and lay dead in emptiness.

    Pariah Planet Murray Leinster
  • Air-scarcity killed them before the ship came out of overdrive.

    Pariah Planet Murray Leinster
  • So they want to use your ship—it's faster in overdrive and so on.

    Pariah Planet Murray Leinster
  • It had gone into overdrive, heading for Dara at many times the speed of light.

    Pariah Planet Murray Leinster
  • The Med Ship broke out of overdrive at 1300 hours, ship time.

    Pariah Planet Murray Leinster
British Dictionary definitions for overdrive


noun (ˈəʊvəˌdraɪv)
a very high gear in a motor vehicle used at high speeds to reduce wear and save fuel
in overdrive, in a state of intense activity
into overdrive, into a state of intense activity
verb (ˌəʊvəˈdraɪv) -drives, -driving, -drove, -driven
(transitive) to drive too hard or too far; overwork or overuse
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 overdrive

"speed-increasing gear in an automobile," 1929, from over- + drive (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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