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 overbearing (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 My competition did not, and proceeded to be boisterous and overbearing, which made the customer cringe. Heather R Morgan, Forbes, "Why Women Often Beat Men At Negotiation," 25 Feb. 2021 It’s filled with superstars like Rick Barry and Oscar Robertson, who routinely complained to the referees and could be decidedly overbearing in the process. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors' Draymond Green lost his temper, but NBA refs have lost their minds," 20 Feb. 2021 But where some have described Bezos’ intensity as bordering on tempestuous, Jassy is seen as less overbearing. al, "Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy in ‘hot seat’ as Alabama workers consider union," 7 Feb. 2021 Best-known for her comedic roles, she was often hindered by Hearst’s overbearing hand in her career. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Marion Davies’ Scandalously Glamorous Life Deserves Its Own Movie," 7 Dec. 2020 By 2005, though, the overbearing whiteness of the art world had driven him back to filmmaking. Calvin Tomkins, The New Yorker, "Arthur Jafa’s Radical Alienation," 14 Dec. 2020 When Baldwin was two, Jones married David Baldwin, a preacher from New Orleans who adopted the boy and was a strict, overbearing influence until his death a few days before Baldwin’s 19th birthday. New York Times, "Exploring James Baldwin’s Old Haunts in New York and Paris," 12 Dec. 2020 Conor, lost in grief, sends the children to live with their overbearing grandmother in Dublin. Mark O’connell, The New Yorker, "Cartoon Saloon and the New Golden Age of Animation," 11 Dec. 2020 There's a minimum of overbearing tutorials explaining how to do every last thing, and the game offers almost no pedantic expository dialogue breaking down the rules of the world. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Cyberpunk 2077 is equal parts beautiful and messy," 7 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for overbearing

Time Traveler

The first known use of overbearing was in 1614

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Statistics for overbearing

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overbearing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overbearing. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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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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