over·​ca·​pac·​i·​ty | \ ˌō-vər-kə-ˈpa-sə-tē How to pronounce overcapacity (audio) , -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

References to climate change and migration that the U.S. strongly objected to were also watered down, while China stood its ground against calls from the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia to make firm commitments to reduce its steel overcapacity. Valentina Pop, WSJ, "G-20 Agrees to Joint Statement, With Compromises," 1 Dec. 2018 Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at Industrial Bank in Shanghai, said China had already been working to cut overcapacity in its steel industry. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "China grumbles at Trump’s tariff move, but Europe takes aim at Harleys and bourbon," 2 Mar. 2018 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

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

Statistics for overcapacity

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

technical : 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).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!