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

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 All of them agreed soldiers were overburdened and looked for ways to decrease the weight. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, "The Overloaded Soldier: Why U.S. Infantry Now Carry More Weight Than Ever," 26 Dec. 2018 But Republicans say that the agency overburdens businesses and that its independent structure gives it too much unchecked power. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "Elizabeth Warren confronts Trump nominee for her role in family separations," 19 July 2018 The massive influx of Venezuelans has overburdened social services in Roraima state and led to an increase in crime, prostitution, disease and incidents of xenophobia. Fox News, "Pregnant Venezuelan women going to Brazil to give birth," 22 Aug. 2018 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

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

21 Jul 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).


to complain fretfully

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