adjective over·bear·ing \ ˌō-vər-ˈber-iŋ \
|Updated on: 9 Aug 2018

Definition of overbearing

1 a : tending to overwhelm : overpowering
  • had to deal with his overbearing mother
b : decisively important : dominant
  • didn't think it was the overbearing consideration here
  • —J. S. Cooper
2 : harshly and haughtily arrogant
  • the mayor's overbearing manner of dealing with employees


play \ˌō-vər-ˈber-iŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of overbearing in a Sentence

  1. He had to deal with his overbearing mother.

  2. Her husband's overbearing manner made her miserable.

Recent Examples of overbearing from the Web

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

First Known Use of overbearing


in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Synonym Discussion of 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

OVERBEARING Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of overbearing for English Language Learners

  • : often trying to control the behavior of other people in an annoying or unwanted way

OVERBEARING Defined for Kids


adjective over·bear·ing \ ˌō-vər-ˈber-iŋ \

Definition of overbearing for Students

: acting in a proud or bossy way toward other people

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