over·​act | \ ˌō-vər-ˈakt How to pronounce overact (audio) \
overacted; overacting; overacts

Definition of overact

intransitive verb

1 : to act more than is necessary
2 : to overact a part

transitive verb

: to exaggerate in acting

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Other Words from overact

overaction \ ˌō-​vər-​ˈak-​shən How to pronounce overaction (audio) \ noun

Examples of overact in a Sentence

His tendency to overact made his performance less realistic.
Recent Examples on the Web This was especially the case in the Vivaldi, Rachlin overacting the part of conductor-soloist. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Symphony Orchestra review: The genius of Argentine tango master Astor Piazzolla," 19 Oct. 2019 Harrison has mastered the ability to overact, ever so slightly, so as to clue in the audience to Luce’s code-switching among his many roles: student, friend, child, self. Nora Mcgreevy, BostonGlobe.com, "More than a matter of black and white," 8 Aug. 2019 The catfights, overacting and Berry's swagger in a skimpy, tight, leather outfit that would be right at home at a Hookers Ball make for campy fun. Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Catwoman': THR's 2004 Review," 23 July 2019 The rest of the cast generally performs well; some prone to overacting, others to a touch of stiffness. nola.com, "Playmakers in Covington presents ‘1776’ with a twist: The cast is mostly women," 26 June 2019 Almost everybody's overacting like a champ, though the most scenery is chewed by Jennifer Morrison and Brian F. Durkin as corrupt law enforcement. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: 'Superfly' gets a flashy hip-hop remake that's so bad it's almost good," 12 June 2018 Owen is the actor who gets the most permission to overact. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "'Baskerville' At Long Wharf Plays As Both Comedy, Complex Mystery," 9 Mar. 2018 In the opening minutes of the production, the subjects are often nervous, overacting. Ben Taub, The New Yorker, "Alex Majoli’s “SKENE”: The World as a Photojournalist’s Stage," 26 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overact.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of overact

1611, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for overact

Time Traveler

The first known use of overact was in 1611

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Statistics for overact

Cite this Entry

“Overact.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overact. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for overact


How to pronounce overact (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overact

disapproving : to show too much emotion when you are acting in a play, movie, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on overact

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overact

Comments on overact

What made you want to look up overact? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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