Dictionary.com

go overboard

Save This Word!

Show excessive enthusiasm, act in an excessive way. For example, It's easy to go overboard with a new stock offering, or She really went overboard, hiring the most expensive caterer. [Mid-1900s]

QUIZ
ARE YOU A TRUE BLUE CHAMPION OF THESE "BLUE" SYNONYMS?
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

BEHIND THE PHRASE

What does go overboard mean?

Go overboard is a phrase that means to show excessive enthusiasm or to do something excessively.

Go overboard can express that someone shows too much enthusiasm, as in I tend to go overboard when I cook and make too much food.

Go overboard can also be used more generally to refer to someone going to an extreme when they do something, as in Shira really went overboard with this birthday party by hiring twenty clowns!

Example: The science teacher went so overboard with her explanation of molecules that the entire class was confused.

Where does go overboard come from?

The first records of go overboard come from around 1931. Its literal meaning refers to falling over the side of a ship, especially into the water. The figurative meaning likely comes from this literal meaning.

Go overboard is typically used to mean that a person is doing something that is unnecessary or goes too far in whatever they are doing. You might be warned not to go overboard to avoid this, such as when there is a tight budget or short deadline.

Did you know … ?

What are some synonyms for go overboard?

What are some words that share a root or word element with go overboard?

What are some words that often get used in discussing go overboard?

How is go overboard used in real life?

Go overboard is a common phrase that describes a situation in which a person does too much or goes too far.

Try using go overboard!

Is go overboard used correctly in the following sentence?

Please don’t go overboard by spending too much money on the gift.

How to use go overboard in a sentence

FEEDBACK