1. thrown or performed with the hand raised over the shoulder; overarm: overhand stroke.
  2. with the hand and part or all of the arm raised above the shoulder: to pitch overhand.
  3. (in sewing and embroidery) with close, shallow stitches over two edges.
adverb Also o·ver·hand·ed.
  1. with the hand over the object: to grasp one's fork overhand.
  1. an overhand stroke, throw, or delivery.
verb (used with object)
  1. to sew overhand.

Origin of overhand

First recorded in 1860–65; over- + hand
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for overhand

Historical Examples of overhand

  • She threw the sticks with the overhand swing of a boy pitching a ball.

    Shifting Sands

    Sara Ware Bassett

  • That would be as silly as using an overhand stab with a dagger.

    Nor Iron Bars a Cage....

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • Overhand closely from right to left with short even stitches.

    Handicraft for Girls

    Idabelle McGlauflin

  • Hold the button with the left hand and overhand the loop to the cloth.

    Handicraft for Girls

    Idabelle McGlauflin

  • Pin to the band and overhand, taking a stitch for each pleat of the gathers.

    Handicraft for Girls

    Idabelle McGlauflin

British Dictionary definitions for overhand


  1. thrown or performed with the hand raised above the shoulder
  2. sewn with thread passing over two edges in one direction
  1. with the hand above the shoulder; overarm
  2. with shallow stitches passing over two edges
  1. to sew (two edges) overhand
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 overhand

1570s, "upside down," from over- + hand. Sense in tennis, etc., in reference to hand position above that which is gripped, is first recorded 1861. As an adjective, of throws, strokes, or bowls, "done with the hand raised above the shoulder," it is first recorded 1828 (in cricket).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper