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[oh-ver-struhng] /ˈoʊ vərˈstrʌŋ/
overly tense or sensitive; strained; on edge:
Their nerves were badly overstrung.
Archery. (of a bow) strung too tightly.
Origin of overstrung
First recorded in 1800-10; over- + strung


[oh-ver-string] /ˌoʊ vərˈstrɪŋ/
verb (used with object), overstrung; overstrung or (Rare) overstringed; overstringing.
Music. to arrange the strings of (a piano) so that the bass strings cross over the treble.
Archery. to string (a bow) too tightly.
First recorded in 1875-80; over- + string Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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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.

    Visionaries James Huneker
  • Possibly his nerves were overstrung with what he had been going through.

    Carette of Sark John Oxenham
  • What she saw would not have disturbed her if she had not been overstrung by long anxiety.

    Robin Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Many old squares have broken plates; generally found near the overstrung bass, or within the first octave of the treble.

    Piano Tuning J. Cree Fischer
  • His nerves were in such an overstrung condition that they only increased the disorder of his imagination.

    The Child of Pleasure Gabriele D'Annunzio
  • The whole world seemed a great musical instrument, overstrung and giving out previously unknown harmonies and inharmonies.

    Robin Frances Hodgson Burnett
British Dictionary definitions for overstrung


too highly strung; tense
(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
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