[adverb oh-ver-awl; adjective, noun oh-ver-awl]

adverb, adjective

from one extreme limit of a thing to the other: the overall length of the bridge.
covering or including everything: an overall impression; to view something overall.


overalls, (used with a plural verb)
  1. loose, sturdy trousers, usually with a bib or biblike piece to which shoulder straps are attached, originally worn over other trousers to protect them, as by factory workers or farmers.
  2. long waterproof leggings.
British. a smock or loose-fitting housedress.

Origin of overall

before 1000; Middle English overal (adv.), Old English ofer eall; see over, all
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for overall

Contemporary Examples of overall

Historical Examples of overall

  • Another score for his doubts about the overall value of truth!

    The Valor of Cappen Varra

    Poul William Anderson

  • The last station seemed to be some kind of overall control for the rest.

  • Your squadron is to be deployed as scouts under my overall command.


    Dallas McCord Reynolds

  • There's my brown Holland overall, and Hudson could brush my hair, and make it tidy.

  • I have no recommendations for an overall solution, or even a regional one.

    This Crowded Earth

    Robert Bloch

British Dictionary definitions for overall


adjective (ˈəʊvərˌɔːl) (prenominal)

from one end to the other
including or covering everythingthe overall cost

adverb (ˌəʊvərˈɔːl)

in general; on the whole

noun (ˈəʊvərˌɔːl)

British a protective work garment usually worn over ordinary clothes
(plural) hard-wearing work trousers with a bib and shoulder straps or jacket attached
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 overall

"everywhere," Old English ofer eall, from ofer "over" (see over) + eall (see all). Sense of "including everything" is from 1894. The noun in the clothing sense (usually plural) of "loose trousers of a strong material worn by cowboys, etc." is from 1782. Specific sense "loose fitting canvas trousers with a bib and strap top" (originally worn by workmen over other clothes to protect them from wet, dirt, etc.) is attested from 1897.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper