See more synonyms for overbear on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), o·ver·bore, o·ver·borne, o·ver·bear·ing.
  1. to bear over or down by weight or force: With his superior strength he easily overbore his opponent in the fight.
  2. to overcome or overwhelm: A spirited defense had overborne the enemy attack.
  3. to prevail over or overrule (wishes, objections, etc.): She overbore all objections to the new plan.
  4. to treat in a domineering way; dominate: to overbear one's children with threats of violence.
  5. Nautical. (of a sailing ship) to have the advantage of (another sailing ship) because of an ability to carry more canvas safely.
verb (used without object), o·ver·bore, o·ver·borne, o·ver·bear·ing.
  1. to produce fruit or progeny so abundantly as to impair the health.

Origin of overbear

First recorded in 1525–35; over- + bear1
Related formso·ver·bear·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for overbear

Historical Examples of overbear

  • Whatever the reasons for having deserted him he was determined to overbear.

    Gerald Fitzgerald

    Charles James Lever

  • Calm, cool, firm self-possession seemed to overbear all other feelings.

    Blue Lights

    R.M. Ballantyne

  • There are times when the fiery heart of a man must overbear the cold brain of a soldier.

    Sir Nigel

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Does the sublime voice issue only to overbear and reduce him to silence?

  • The trees are inclined to overbear, in which case the fruits run small.

British Dictionary definitions for overbear


verb -bears, -bearing, -bore or -borne
  1. (tr) to dominate or overcometo overbear objections
  2. (tr) to press or bear down with weight or physical force
  3. to produce or bear (fruit, progeny, etc) excessively
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 overbear

late 14c., "to carry over," from over- + bear (v.). Meaning "to bear down by weight of physical force" is from 1535 (in Coverdale), originally nautical, of an overwhelming wind; figurative sense of "to overcome and repress by power, authority, etc." is from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper