over·​bur·​den | \ ˌō-vər-ˈbər-dᵊn How to pronounce overburden (audio) \
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 How to pronounce overburden (audio) \

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

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Examples of overburden in a Sentence

Verb She overburdened me with work. Why overburden yourself when people are offering to help?
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Health officials are working hard to put sound public health measures in place that don't overburden society or shut down the economy. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, "Science by press release: When the story gets ahead of the science," 27 June 2020 Japan is under a month-long state of emergency amid a rapid increase of infections, and medical workers say hospitals are overburdened. The Christian Science Monitor, "New Zealand lifts restrictions, France and Spain to follow," 28 Apr. 2020 The Chicago Teachers Union has asked for more social workers in Chicago Public Schools, maintaining that schools are thinly staffed and overburdened. Madeline Buckley, chicagotribune.com, "Reported suicide attempts among black teens have spiked since 1991, study shows, raising concerns about availability of mental health care," 14 Oct. 2019 Models suggest that the country’s outbreak may soon be nearing its peak, overburdening health care systems, budgets, and supply chains. National Geographic, "Social distancing during disasters," 17 Apr. 2020 The order followed reports that overburdened out-of-state labs had large backlogs of samples to test and were taking up to six days -- and sometimes double that -- to get results to patients and doctors. Ginger Christ, cleveland, "A ‘fair amount’ of Ohio patients with suspected COVID-19 died before tests returned from private labs, ODH says," 6 Apr. 2020 Cutting a portion or all of Miami's visiting assistant professors could overburden remaining faculty and create larger class sizes, hampering the overall education for students, Wagner said. Max Londberg, Cincinnati.com, "'Not clear if we will be back on campus this fall,' writes Miami U. dean," 30 Mar. 2020 Public health experts have said easing restrictions too soon could overburden hospitals and lead to more deaths and economic damage related to the virus. NBC News, "Amy Klobuchar's husband released from hospital after battling coronavirus," 27 Mar. 2020 Biden might say the tradeoff is the financial hit hospitals may face in a time when the health system is already overburdened, understaffed, and suffering from a dearth of tests and medical equipment. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Joe Biden’s health care plan for the coronavirus and beyond," 3 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The working assumption was that everything would soon be crushed by the overburden of snow anyway. Jon Gertner, WIRED, "The Top Secret Cold War Project That Pulled Climate Science From the Ice," 12 June 2019 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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Time Traveler for overburden

Time Traveler

The first known use of overburden was in 1532

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Statistics for overburden

Last Updated

8 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overburden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overburden. Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for overburden


How to pronounce overburden (audio)

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 How to pronounce overburden (audio) \
overburdened; overburdening

Kids Definition of overburden

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

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