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  1. overly tense or sensitive; strained; on edge: Their nerves were badly overstrung.
  2. Archery. (of a bow) strung too tightly.

Origin of overstrung

First recorded in 1800–10; over- + strung


verb (used with object), o·ver·strung; o·ver·strung or (Rare) o·ver·stringed; o·ver·string·ing.
  1. Music. to arrange the strings of (a piano) so that the bass strings cross over the treble.
  2. Archery. to string (a bow) too tightly.

Origin of overstring

First recorded in 1875–80; over- + string
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for overstrung

Historical Examples

  • But it is all through every one being so overstrung, I suppose.

    Hunting the Skipper

    George Manville Fenn

  • Now, Phyllis was tired with much hurried work, and overstrung.

    The Rose Garden Husband

    Margaret Widdemer

  • And to Katherine, overstrung as she was, the words came as a rebuke.

  • He knew this time that it was not the hallucination of overstrung nerves.

    The Rest Hollow Mystery

    Rebecca N. Porter

  • Stunned by his overstrung emotions, he could only bow his head.


    James Huneker

British Dictionary definitions for overstrung


  1. too highly strung; tense
  2. (of a piano) having two sets of strings crossing each other at an oblique angle
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