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

Trump’s tariffs are likely to worsen the global overcapacity that’s led to today’s punishingly low prices for steel and aluminum. Peter Coy, Bloomberg.com, "To Be Clear, Trump’s Tariffs Were Not ‘Produced by Purdue University’," 12 Mar. 2018 Tanker overcapacity is significant and oil demand will be muted because of still bloated reserves. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Tanker Owners Cash In on Iran Sanctions and Trade Tensions," 12 Nov. 2018 Coal prices were boosted last year by China’s efforts to cut overcapacity by shuttering some mines and restricting imports. Bloomberg.com, "Yanzhou Coal Surges After Annual Profit Jumps Fourfold on Sales," 25 Mar. 2018 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

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.

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First Known Use of overcapacity

1877, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

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The first known use of overcapacity was in 1877

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English Language Learners Definition of overcapacity

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

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