Origin of overhand

First recorded in 1860–65; over- + hand
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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

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

    Handicraft for Girls

    Idabelle McGlauflin

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for overhand



thrown or performed with the hand raised above the shoulder
sewn with thread passing over two edges in one direction


with the hand above the shoulder; overarm
with shallow stitches passing over two edges


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