[verb oh-ver-shoot; noun oh-ver-shoot]
See more synonyms for overshoot on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), o·ver·shot, o·ver·shoot·ing.
  1. to shoot or go over, beyond, or above; miss: The missile overshot its target.
  2. to pass or go by or beyond (a point, limit, etc.): to overshoot a stop sign.
  3. to shoot or pour down over: turbulent water overshooting the top of the dam.
  4. to overreach (oneself or itself); go further than is intended or proper; go too far: It looked as though his self-confidence had overshot itself.
  5. (of an aircraft or pilot) to fly too far along (a landing strip) in attempting to land.
verb (used without object), o·ver·shot, o·ver·shoot·ing.
  1. to fly or go beyond.
  2. to shoot over or above a mark.
  1. a shooting beyond a specified point or target: two overshoots in the missile test series.
  2. the amount of excessive distance in a trajectory or route: a two-mile overshoot on the artillery range.

Origin of overshoot

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75; see origin at over-, shoot1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for overshoot

Contemporary Examples of overshoot

Historical Examples of overshoot

  • For an instant he had a quick fear that he might overshoot his mark.

    Pirates of the Gorm

    Nat Schachner

  • All was well as yet, but he didn't want to overshoot the mark.

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett

  • The door in the Overshoot's side opened and they got out quickly.

    Starman's Quest

    Robert Silverberg

  • "Heads for Overshoot," he said, and caught the coin on the back of his left hand.

    Starman's Quest

    Robert Silverberg

  • By standing on he was afraid that, should a passage exist, he might overshoot it.

    Notable Voyagers

    W.H.G. Kingston and Henry Frith

British Dictionary definitions for overshoot


verb -shoots, -shooting or -shot
  1. to shoot or go beyond (a mark or target)
  2. to cause (an aircraft) to fly or taxi too far along (a runway) during landing or taking off, or (of an aircraft) to fly or taxi too far along a runway
  3. (tr) to pass swiftly over or down over, as water over a wheel
  1. an act or instance of overshooting
  2. the extent of such overshooting
  3. a momentary excessive response of an electrical or mechanical system
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 overshoot

mid-14c., "to shoot, run, or pass beyond (a point or limit)," over- + shoot (v.). Related: Overshot; overshooting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

overshoot in Medicine


  1. A change from steady state in response to a sudden change in some factor, as in electric potential or polarity when a cell or tissue is stimulated.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.