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

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to work too hard, too much, or too long; work to excess: You look as though you've been overworking.


work beyond one's strength or capacity.
extra or excessive work.

Origin of overwork

before 1000; Old English oferwyrcan. See over-, work
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for overworked

Contemporary Examples of overworked

Historical Examples of overworked

  • Everything was bolted and barred that could by possibility furnish relief to an overworked people.

  • I don't know as these people are overworked, as the world goes.

    Their Pilgrimage

    Charles Dudley Warner

  • She was tired and overworked, and she felt that it was good to fall asleep.

    Mistress Anne

    Temple Bailey

  • Then I thought I'd rub him myself, because Billy is overworked, you know.

    Stanford Stories

    Charles K. Field

  • A movement which places its reliance on the casual teaching of overworked men is condemned from the start.

    The Teacher

    George Herbert Palmer

British Dictionary definitions for overworked


verb (ˌəʊvəˈwɜːk) (mainly tr)

(also intr) to work or cause to work too hard or too long
to use too muchto overwork an excuse
to decorate the surface of
to work up

noun (ˈəʊvəˌwɜːk)

excessive or excessively tiring work
Derived Formsoverworked, adjective
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 overworked



"to cause to work too hard," 1520s, from over- + work (v.). Old English oferwyrcan meant "to work all over," i.e. "to decorate the whole surface of." Related: Overworked; overworking.



"work beyond a person's strength," 1819; see overwork (v.). Old English oferweorc meant "a superstructure, sarcophagus, tomb."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper