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See more synonyms for overawe on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), o·ver·awed, o·ver·aw·ing.
  1. to restrain or subdue by inspiring awe; intimidate: He often uses that imperious scowl to overawe his subordinates.
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Origin of overawe

First recorded in 1570–80; over- + awe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for overawe

Historical Examples

  • He spoke in a jerky voice, as if he thought to overawe the boy.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • "To your work," he cried, bravely, thinking yet that he might overawe them.

  • And had he begun to build his castles to stun and overawe the rabbles that pass his door?

    The Root of Evil

    Thomas Dixon

  • Not a single soldier is to be found in our domain to overawe or protect society.

    Robert Toombs

    Pleasant A. Stovall

  • He may, indeed, build barrack after barrack to overawe them.

British Dictionary definitions for overawe


  1. (tr) to subdue, restrain, or overcome by affecting with a feeling of awe
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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 overawe


1570s, from over- + awe (v.). Perhaps coined by Spenser. Related: Overawed; overawing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper