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  1. that overpowers; overwhelming: an overpowering conviction of the truth.
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Origin of overpowering

First recorded in 1690–1700; overpower + -ing2
Related formso·ver·pow·er·ing·ly, adverbo·ver·pow·er·ing·ness, noun


verb (used with object)
  1. to overcome, master, or subdue by superior force: to overpower a maniac.
  2. to overcome or overwhelm in feeling; affect or impress excessively: overpowered with confusion and desire.
  3. to gain mastery over the bodily powers or mental faculties of: a strong drink that quickly overpowered him.
  4. to furnish or equip with excessive power: a giant motor that overpowered the pump.
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Origin of overpower

First recorded in 1585–95; over- + power
Related formsun·o·ver·pow·ered, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for overpowering

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • To hate him would be hating an overpowering force, like heat, or electricity.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • A cold rage of nervousness beset her, so overpowering that she herself was amazed at it.

    Tiverton Tales

    Alice Brown

  • He was altogether splendid, massive, overpowering, and impracticable.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • The heat was overpowering, and the war was of course discussed.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • He knew an overpowering desire for the protection and companionship of man.

    White Fang

    Jack London

British Dictionary definitions for overpowering


  1. so strong or intense as to be unbearable
  2. so powerful as to crush or conquer
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Derived Formsoverpoweringly, adverb


verb (tr)
  1. to conquer or subdue by superior force
  2. to have such a strong effect on as to make helpless or ineffective
  3. to supply with more power than necessary
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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 overpowering



"to overcome with superior power," 1590s, from over- + power (v.). Related: Overpowered; overpowering.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper