[oh-ver-rawt, oh-ver-]


extremely or excessively excited or agitated: to become overwrought on hearing bad news; an overwrought personality.
elaborated to excess; excessively complex or ornate: written in a florid, overwrought style.
Archaic. wearied or exhausted by overwork.

Nearby words

  1. overwore,
  2. overwork,
  3. overworked,
  4. overworn,
  5. overwrite,
  6. overzealous,
  7. oveta,
  8. ovett,
  9. ovi-,
  10. ovicidal

Origin of overwrought

First recorded in 1660–70; over- + wrought

SYNONYMS FOR overwrought
1. overexcited, worked up, wrought up, distracted, frantic.


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

verb (used with object)

to cause to work too hard, too much, or too long; weary or exhaust with work (often used reflexively): Don't overwork yourself on that new job.
to work up, stir up, or excite excessively: to overwork a mob to the verge of frenzy.
to employ or elaborate to excess: an appeal for sympathy that has been overworked by many speakers.
to work or decorate all over; decorate the surface of: white limestone overworked with inscriptions.

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 overwrought

British Dictionary definitions for overwrought



full of nervous tension; agitated
too elaborate; fussyan overwrought style
(often postpositive and foll by with) with the surface decorated or adorned


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 overwrought
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper