- the capacity of a nation to destroy, by nuclear weapons, more of an enemy than would be necessary for a military victory.
- an instance of such destruction.
- an excess of what is required or suitable, as because of zeal or misjudgment.
Origin of overkill
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for overkill
Do you tell [people] the shocking truth -- that he was practically cut in half from the overkill of ammo fired into his body?Whitey Bulger and the FBI Whitewash
November 15, 2013
While we may have reached peak Downey here, his gift for gab—even under the most dire of circumstances—never seems like overkill.‘Iron Man 3,’ Starring Robert Downey Jr., Is Loud, Quippy, Ridiculous Fun
May 1, 2013
She denied that the 10 days of constant attacks amounted to overkill.DNC Chief: Sununu Went 'Into the Gutter'
July 19, 2012
The same would apply to Democratic spending, too, of course, but the Democrats are less likely to hit the point of overkill.Super PACs and Saturation Advertising
May 8, 2012
At a certain point, political experts started to wonder whether it was overkill, as Gingrich started dropping in the polls.Mitt Romney Defends Florida Spending, Says It ‘Served Me Well’
January 31, 2012
- the capability to deploy more weapons, esp nuclear weapons, than is necessary to ensure military advantage
- any capacity or treatment that is greater than that required or appropriate
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
Word Origin and History for overkill
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper