over·​bear·​ing ˌō-vər-ˈber-iŋ How to pronounce overbearing (audio)
: tending to overwhelm : overpowering
had to deal with his overbearing mother
: decisively important : dominant
didn't think it was the overbearing consideration hereJ. S. Cooper
: harshly and haughtily arrogant
the mayor's overbearing manner of dealing with employees
overbearingly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for overbearing

proud, arrogant, haughty, lordly, insolent, overbearing, supercilious, disdainful mean showing scorn for inferiors.

proud may suggest an assumed superiority or loftiness.

too proud to take charity

arrogant implies a claiming for oneself of more consideration or importance than is warranted.

a conceited and arrogant executive

haughty suggests a consciousness of superior birth or position.

a haughty aristocrat

lordly implies pomposity or an arrogant display of power.

a lordly condescension

insolent implies contemptuous haughtiness.

ignored by an insolent waiter

overbearing suggests a tyrannical manner or an intolerable insolence.

an overbearing supervisor

supercilious implies a cool, patronizing haughtiness.

an aloof and supercilious manner

disdainful suggests a more active and openly scornful superciliousness.

disdainful of their social inferiors

Examples of overbearing in a Sentence

He had to deal with his overbearing mother. Her husband's overbearing manner made her miserable.
Recent Examples on the Web However, the overbearing score by Mac Quayle, who may be best known for his work on American Horror Story, too often crushes any subtlety that might have existed in the script. Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Oct. 2023 Dern played the at-times overbearing and ultra-mama bear Renata Klein. Julia Moore, Peoplemag, 12 Nov. 2023 Unbound Merino’s merino wool blend fabric feels unbelievably soft and stretchy, like a warm (but not overbearing) hug for your feet. Talia Ergas, Travel + Leisure, 26 Sep. 2023 Betty Gabriel) or Sam’s well-meaning but slightly overbearing mom (Neeru Bajwa). David Fear, Rolling Stone, 22 Sep. 2023 The first film, centered on a woman’s quest to find herself and establish her identity within her overbearing family unit, was a sleeper 2002 hit with uplifting sentiment at its core. Courtney Howard, Variety, 7 Sep. 2023 Fictionalizing literary history can allow writers to exorcise its overbearing presence, to escape its clichés and culs-de-sac. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 And race was such a dominant, overbearing issue in my life that being a woman didn’t even factor into it. John Leland, New York Times, 26 Aug. 2023 Alex Guerrero, whose overbearing presence with the Patriots in 2017 led Bill Belichick to revoke his sideline pass and team flight privileges, was seen standing on the Raiders’ sideline during their Aug. 13 preseason game against the 49ers. Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, 26 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overbearing.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1614, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of overbearing was in 1614

Dictionary Entries Near overbearing

Cite this Entry

“Overbearing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overbearing. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


overbearingly adverb

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