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

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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

More importantly, this set of headphones proves supremely comfortable—both lighter and more breathable around the ears than its predecessors, with a healthy but not overbearing amount of soft pleather padding around the ear cups and headband. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Holiday Gift Guide 2018—tech and gear for travel that we’d buy," 13 Nov. 2018 Writing to his friend, the mathematician Benedetto Castelli, Galileo first outlined his rejection of Church dogma and its overbearing influence on the Copernican theory that Earth revolved around the sun. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Newfound Galileo Letter Suggests He Lied to Dupe the Church and Avoid Persecution," 25 Sep. 2018 While Uber and Lyft may be able to stomach a pause in what is Uber’s largest market in the U.S., attempts to replicate these bills in other places may prove to be much more overbearing or sweeping than those passed today in New York. Johana Bhuiyan, Recode, "Uber lost in NYC. But here’s the real problem.," 8 Aug. 2018 As Catherine’s well-meaning but overbearing sister, Elaitheia Quinn shows flashes of a guilty conscience. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Actors, not soundtrack, put the emotion in 'Proof'," 10 Mar. 2018 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

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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Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

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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

: 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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