over·​ca·​pac·​i·​ty | \ˌō-vər-kə-ˈpa-sə-tē, -ˈpa-stē\

Definition of overcapacity 

: excessive capacity for production or services in relation to demand

Examples of overcapacity in a Sentence

The airlines are lowering their prices because of an overcapacity of seats.

Recent Examples on the Web

The nation’s housing market teeters on a mountain of debt, and low-interest loans from state banks have built overcapacity in many industries. Steven Lee Myers, The Seattle Times, "Trump’s trade spat is rattling China’s leaders and economy," 14 Aug. 2018 Between 1985 and 2007 trade volumes shot up at around twice the rate of global GDP but since 2012 their rate of growth has barely kept pace, leaving the industry with overcapacity. The Economist, "A wave of new environmental laws is scaring shipowners," 21 June 2018 Rising fuel costs, only half of which are hedged, and a squeeze on fares caused by airline overcapacity in Europe threaten to plunge Air France into the red sooner than its peers. The Economist, "Air France-KLM is being brought to its knees by its unions," 10 May 2018 Chinese overcapacity has depressed global steel prices and wreaked havoc on China’s competitors. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "How China Skirts America’s Antidumping Tariffs on Steel," 4 June 2018 Skeptics say China has made similar unfulfilled promises to other administrations on issues ranging from reducing overcapacity in steel production to opening up its financial markets. Mark Landler, New York Times, "China Plans Up to $200 Billion in Trade Concessions, but Skepticism Abounds," 17 May 2018 Many foreign leaders have agreed that there is a global overcapacity of steel and aluminum, which most attribute to China's vast expansion in recent decades. Damian Paletta, chicagotribune.com, "At G-20, Trump team shows no sign of backing off potential trade war," 20 Mar. 2018 The real problem, world-wide steel overcapacity and overproduction in countries like China, would go unanswered. Cecilia Malmström, WSJ, "Friends Don’t Let Friends Impose Tariffs," 7 June 2018 The crowd on hand was not the biggest PVA has organized since the start of the 2018 World Cup as the opening-match upset against Germany ended with an overcapacity building. Atreya Verma, azcentral, "World Cup Round of 16: Pancho Villa's Army celebrates as Mexico advances," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overcapacity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of overcapacity

1877, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overcapacity

Share overcapacity

Statistics for overcapacity

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overcapacity

The first known use of overcapacity was in 1877

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for overcapacity



English Language Learners Definition of overcapacity

: a situation in which an industry, company, etc., has or produces more of something than it is able to sell or use

Comments on overcapacity

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


something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!