- to hear (speech or a speaker) without the speaker's intention or knowledge: I accidentally overheard what they were saying.
Origin of overhear
Examples from the Web for overheard
“All these questions from journalists,” he said, in a voice that was just loud enough to be overheard.North Korea’s Propaganda Art Exhibit in London
November 6, 2014
They would speak up, but in tones still soft and placid; and Spahn often overheard them describing him as a “beautiful person.”Gay Talese on Charlie Manson’s Home on the Range
October 31, 2014
A few days later, I overheard someone say a person they knew had "lost the battle" against cancer.No One Ever Loses to Cancer
October 8, 2014
At that point, a sphere lit up, resembling the landing of the UFO in E.T., and the overheard lights descended on the stage.I'm Not Country or Pop. I'm Just Pure Garth Brooks.
September 10, 2014
There was also a report that the soldiers had overheard talk on the radio of an American looking for the Taliban.The Army Lied About the Hero Who Died Looking for Bowe Bergdahl
June 4, 2014
"But you forget where we are," answered the Man of Fancy, who overheard the remark.A Select Party (From "Mosses From An Old Manse")
And what I overheard in the armoury--about a telegram--telling me--putting me out of my misery?Viviette
William J. Locke
Again he paused, and looked round to see whether he could be overheard.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
Evelyn overheard, and blushed as she stole a glance at Maltravers.Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete
However it was explained, in tones too soft to be overheard.The Uncommercial Traveller
- (tr) to hear (a person, remark, etc) without the knowledge of the speaker
Word Origin and History for overheard
"to hear what one is not meant to hear," 1540s, from over- + hear. The notion is perhaps "to hear beyond the intended range of the voice." Old English oferhieran also meant "to not listen, to disregard, disobey" (cf. overlook for negative force of over; also Middle High German überhaeren, Middle Dutch overhoren in same sense). Related: Overheard; overhearing.