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

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

Lynch said wrapping Highway 67 Ad Hoc Committee’s endeavors into the Trails and Transportation Committee could overburden that committee. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Planners fall short on filling vacancy," 7 Aug. 2019 Additionally, urban sprawl south of the border overburdens the wastewater treatment infrastructure, sending flows of raw sewage into the Pacific Ocean and prompting beach closures in Imperial Beach and Coronado. Gustavo Solis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego representatives want $2 billion to help stop cross-border sewage flows," 22 July 2019 The trick is doing so without overburdening him or oversimplifying the offense in the process. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Why the Pairing of Russell Westbrook and James Harden Won’t Be a Simple Fit," 12 July 2019 Pepper is not meant to overburden your palate, but to stimulate it with an interplay of flavors, and to bring your mouth to life. New York Times, "Yewande Komolafe’s 10 Essential Nigerian Recipes," 26 June 2019 Shoppers who wove in and out of Houston Street stores all day didn’t want to be approached more than once, especially if they were overburdened with packages. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio’s ‘sidewalk photographers’ captured Houston Street life," 27 July 2019 Sure, there would be caution not to overburden Porter Jr. too quickly, but there was excitement nonetheless. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Zion Williamson makes thrilling Summer League debut before earthquake hits. Michael Porter Jr. can only watch.," 5 July 2019 The board’s lawsuit notes that the power company used debt to cover operating revenue shortfalls by 2011, and that it was overburdened with debt by 2014. Washington Post, "Lawsuit targets alleged Puerto Rico power company corruption," 30 June 2019 The modern solider is overburdened, so defense researchers have been trying to invent new ways to lighten the load, such as wearable exoskeletons that shoulder some of the weight. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Grizzly Is a Rugged Tank Robot That Could Carry a Soldier’s Stuff," 29 Mar. 2019

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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Statistics for overburden

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce overburden (audio) \
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).


a wrong name or inappropriate designation

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