over·​bur·​den | \ˌō-vər-ˈbər-dᵊn \
overburdened; overburdening; overburdens

Definition of overburden 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to place an excessive burden on


over·​bur·​den | \ˈō-vər-ˌbər-dᵊn \

Definition of overburden (Entry 2 of 2)

: material overlying a deposit of useful geological materials or bedrock

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Synonyms for overburden

Synonyms: Verb

overcharge, overfill, overload

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Examples of overburden in a Sentence


She overburdened me with work. Why overburden yourself when people are offering to help?

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Essential medical tasks such as repositioning a patient to avert bedsores can be overlooked when workers are overburdened, sometimes leading to avoidable hospitalizations. Jordan Rau, New York Times, "‘It’s Almost Like a Ghost Town.’ Most Nursing Homes Overstated Staffing for Years," 7 July 2018 The special looks at grandparents raising their grandchildren, recovering addicts fighting for custody of their children and the Florida foster care system, which is overburdened. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Raising Heroin's Children' debuts on Spectrum News 13," 21 May 2018 Therefore, this approach looks ideal for Indiana, challenging without overburdening. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "20-game Big Ten season adds wrinkle to nonconference scheduling for IU basketball," 24 May 2018 City Council, however, has balked at that sum, saying that taxpayers are already overburdened. Philly.com, "SRC adopts $3.2B Philly school budget - with question marks," 24 May 2018 And far from overburdening the Fed, the FedAccounts would likely generate hundreds of billions of dollars. David Dayen, The New Republic, "Give Everyone Government Bank Accounts," 13 June 2018 The mandatory program will also overburden poor families and state welfare offices, Democrats said. Caitlin Dewey, chicagotribune.com, "Republican plan to tighten food stamp work requirements advances despite opposition," 18 Apr. 2018 Life insurers must somehow reinvent themselves without losing sight of their core purpose: providing a way for their customers to plan for a dignified old age without overburdening the state. The Economist, "The life-insurance industry is in need of new vigour," 17 May 2018 The lone Pelicans defender on the play looked overmatched, overwhelmed and overburdened. Al Saracevic, San Francisco Chronicle, "In the end, the Warriors death lineup killed the Pelicans," 8 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Keep in mind, the whole purpose of this was to relieve students of the overburden of exams and let teachers teach. Kristen M. Clark, miamiherald, "With Democrats upset, school testing reforms could falter again in Senate," 3 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overburden.' 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 overburden


1532, in the meaning defined above


1821, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for overburden

Last Updated

29 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for overburden

The first known use of overburden was in 1532

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More Definitions for overburden



English Language Learners Definition of overburden

: to give (someone or something) too much work, worry, etc. : to burden (someone or something) too much


over·​bur·​den | \ˌō-vər-ˈbər-dᵊn \
overburdened; overburdening

Kids Definition of overburden

: to burden too heavily I'm overburdened with work.

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Comments on overburden

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


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