over·bear·ing | \ˌō-vər-ˈber-iŋ \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from overbearing

overbearingly \ˌō-vər-ˈber-iŋ-lē \ 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

In June 1999, the summer before Don's senior year, Fred Trump, Donald's own overbearing and emotionally abusive father, passed away. Julia Ioffe, GQ, "The Real Story of Donald Trump Jr.," 21 June 2018 Even the most seasoned opera-goers have likely never seen this 19th century Italian comedy about a pretentious, overbearing Neapolitan father who places ads in newspapers across Europe in a misguided attempt to marry off his daughter. Catherine Womack, latimes.com, "Irreverent Pacific Opera Project takes on 'La Gazetta'," 26 June 2018 Joe Jackson was an overbearing, abusive, manipulating and ruthless father. latimes.com, "Calendar Letters: Harlan Ellison's jitterbug, protest songs and healthcare, Joe Jackson's legacy," 7 July 2018 The women are visited by Leah’s other daughter Minnie and her overbearing, easily outraged, vain, smug, indisputably despicable husband Frank Charles. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Frontier Justice In 'Flyin' West' At Westport Playhouse," 5 June 2018 Google’s Pixelbook and the family of Chromebook devices from traditional PC makers give a great counterexample to the overbearing Windows experience. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Isn’t it time we declared our independence from bloatware?," 4 July 2018 Many a Lifetime movie has been made about the overbearing mom who tries to get her daughter to lose weight and ends up driving her to developing an eating disorder. Valerie Denny, Redbook, "Results of The Great Mom Debate: Would You Put an Overweight Child on a Diet?," 3 Jan. 2011 There was always somebody out there who was a dictator...and a dictator could be somebody in your personal life, too -- somebody who's overbearing or always telling you what to do. Gary Graff, Billboard, "Daron Malakian Previews New Scars on Broadway Album 'Dictator,' Talks System of a Down," 14 June 2018 Throw in an overbearing boss, his nightmare of a 10-year-old son, and his wife who keeps it all together by breaking things apart. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Situation Comedy "The Nerd" Opens At Bradley Playhouse," 11 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of overbearing

1614, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overbearing

Share overbearing

Statistics for overbearing

Last Updated

6 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overbearing

The first known use of overbearing was in 1614

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for overbearing



English Language Learners Definition of overbearing

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!