[verb oh-ver-look; noun oh-ver-look]

verb (used with object)


terrain, as on a cliff, that affords an attractive vista or a good view: Miles of landscape could be seen from the overlook.

Nearby words

  1. overlie,
  2. overline,
  3. overlive,
  4. overload,
  5. overlong,
  6. overlooker,
  7. overlord,
  8. overly,
  9. overlying,
  10. overman

Origin of overlook

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75; see origin at over-, look

Related formsun·o·ver·looked, adjective

Can be confusedoverlook oversee oversight

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for overlooking

British Dictionary definitions for overlooking


verb (ˌəʊvəˈlʊk) (tr)

to fail to notice or take into account
to disregard deliberately or indulgently
to look at or over from abovethe garden is overlooked by the prison
to afford a view of from abovethe house overlooks the bay
to rise above
to look after
to look at carefully
to bewitch or cast the evil eye upon (someone)

noun (ˈəʊvəˌlʊk) US

a high place affording a view
an act of overlooking
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 overlooking



mid-14c., "to examine, scrutinize, inspect," from over- + look (v.). Another Middle English sense was "to peer over the top of." These two literal senses have given rise to the two main modern meanings. Meaning "to look over or beyond and thus not see," via notion of "to choose to not notice" is first recorded 1520s. Seemingly contradictory sense of "to watch over officially, keep an eye on, superintend" is from 1530s. Related: Overlooked; overlooking. In Shekaspeare's day, overlooking also was a common term for "inflicting the evil eye on" (someone or something).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper