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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to act in an exaggerated manner.
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Origin of overact

First recorded in 1605–15; over- + act
Related formso·ver·ac·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for overact

Historical Examples

  • I saw Mrs. Drew play Mrs. Malaprop, and it was a lesson to people who overact.

    McClure's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 3, July 1908.


British Dictionary definitions for overact


  1. to act or behave in an exaggerated manner, as in a theatrical productionAlso: overplay
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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 overact


1610s, "to go too far in action," from over- + act (v.). Meaning "to play a part with too much emphasis, to chew the scenery" is from 1630s. Related: Overacted; overacting.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper