[oh-ver-bawrd, -bohrd]


over the side of a ship or boat, especially into or in the water: to fall overboard.


    go overboard, to go to extremes, especially in regard to approval or disapproval of a person or thing: I think the critics went overboard in panning that new show.

Origin of overboard

before 1000; Middle English over bord, Old English ofer bord. See over, board
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for overboard

Contemporary Examples of overboard

Historical Examples of overboard

  • The boy was next attacked-with threats of throwing him overboard.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • I'll throw him overboard before such a disgrace befall us or him.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • He would come, and we would heave him overboard, or get killed trying.

    Tom Sawyer, Detective

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • She had a deckload of it, and she'd heave it overboard every time the wind changed.

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • If 'twas one of the hands I guess likely she'd have hove him overboard.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for overboard



from on board a vessel into the water
go overboard informal
  1. to be extremely enthusiastic
  2. to go to extremes
throw overboard to reject or abandon
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 overboard

"over the side of a ship," Old English ofor bord, from over + bord "side of a ship" (see board (n.2)). Figurative sense of "excessively, beyond one's means" (especially in phrase go overboard) first attested 1931 in Damon Runyon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with overboard


see go overboard.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.