over·​bear·​ing | \ ˌō-vər-ˈber-iŋ How to pronounce overbearing (audio) \

Definition of overbearing

1a : 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

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Other Words from overbearing

overbearingly \ ˌō-​vər-​ˈber-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce overbearingly (audio) \ 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

Mary Louise manages to unsettle grieving daughter-in-law Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and needle the overbearing Madeline (Reese Witherspoon). Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "Meryl Streep, Doris Day, ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’: Weekend for legends," 7 June 2019 These words erroneously present the violators as victims and the city staff as overbearing. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: “Taste” marijuana at home; Squatters, not residents, evicted; An unproductive cycle on tariffs (6/7/19)," 7 June 2019 The first episode of the series showed Arquette gracefully teetering between wholesome doting mother and overbearing prison guard. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "Patricia Arquette, Chloë Sevigny, Joey King, and AnnaSophia Robb Attend Last Night’s Premiere for Hulu’s Hair-Raising Series, The Act," 16 Mar. 2019 That’s good news for you this summer as crowds are never overbearing, including (remarkably) in the cobblestoned Centro Histórico (Historic Center), UNESCO’s very first World Heritage city. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "28 Places to Go This Summer That Won't Be Full of Tourists," 11 May 2018 Consumed by her nagging, overbearing affectations, the Jewish mother was to blame for the persistent woes of the Jewish American male — his anxiety, his neuroticism, his own assimilation failures. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "How the JAP became America’s most complex Jewish stereotype.," 5 Dec. 2018 Feeling pressure from his overbearing father, a disciple of toxic masculinity, Jack decides to enlist in the war. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is Us Season 3 Episode 4 Finally Introduces Jack's Brother Nicky," 17 Oct. 2018 This spring, the teen girls of Blockers debated the future of their virgin status and took on their overbearing parents without a hint of Valley Girl whining. Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "Why calling women 'strong female leads' is degrading," 2 July 2018 The pictures show Engledow and his adorable tot in a variety of scenarios meant to parody overbearing parents. Lauren Le Vine, Redbook, "Morning Headlines: Meet Our Stylish Staff, Black Friday Is Taking Over Thanksgiving — and More," 12 Nov. 2013

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.

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First Known Use of overbearing

1614, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for overbearing

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overbearing

The first known use of overbearing was in 1614

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More Definitions for overbearing



English Language Learners Definition of overbearing

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


over·​bear·​ing | \ ˌō-vər-ˈber-iŋ\

Kids Definition of overbearing

: acting in a proud or bossy way toward other people

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Comments on overbearing

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


behavior toward others

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