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90s Slang You Should Know


[oh-ver-heer] /ˌoʊ vərˈhɪər/
verb (used with object), overheard, overhearing.
to hear (speech or a speaker) without the speaker's intention or knowledge:
I accidentally overheard what they were saying.
Origin of overhear
First recorded in 1540-50; over- + hear
Related forms
overhearer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for overhear
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Not for worlds would Madge have had them overhear her conversation with Mrs. Curtis.

    Madge Morton's Victory Amy D.V. Chalmers
  • I could overhear their conversation, though they did not know it.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • Here he was joined by Dick Ferris, and the two at once began an animated conversation, which Hal managed to overhear.

    The Missing Tin Box Arthur M. Winfield
  • They conversed in a tone sufficiently loud for me to overhear them.

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • When she looked into the cabin and seen the remains uh that cow-critter, there was language it wasn't polite to overhear.

    The Happy Family Bertha Muzzy Bower
British Dictionary definitions for overhear


verb -hears, -hearing, -heard
(transitive) to hear (a person, remark, etc) without the knowledge of the speaker
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 overhear

"to hear what one is not meant to hear," 1540s, from over- + hear. The notion is perhaps "to hear beyond the intended range of the voice." Old English oferhieran also meant "to not listen, to disregard, disobey" (cf. overlook for negative force of over; also Middle High German überhaeren, Middle Dutch overhoren in same sense). Related: Overheard; overhearing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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