over·​clas·​si·​fy | \ ˌō-vər-ˈkla-sə-ˌfī How to pronounce overclassify (audio) \
overclassified; overclassifying

Definition of overclassify

: to classify (something or someone) to an excessive degree: such as
a transitive : to divide (someone or something) into too many or unnecessary classes (see class entry 1 sense 3) The model we describe is intended to work with the differences people bring to the therapy situation, without overclassifying them based on any particular characteristics.— Charlie Johnson and Denise Webster also : to include too many or too much of (someone or something) in a class … has long argued, however, that this cutoff overclassifies children and artificially inflates diagnostic rates. — George Kapalka
b transitive + intransitive : to make (something, such as information or documents) classified (see classified entry 1 sense 2) unnecessarily The intelligence community too often overclassifies information that many of us believe should readily be available …— Pete Hoekstra We're overclassifying. We're keeping too much out of the public domain.— Robert Baer

Other Words from overclassify

overclassification \ ˌō-​vər-​ˌkla-​sə-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce overclassify (audio) \ noun, plural overclassifications
overclassification of students overclassification of government data

First Known Use of overclassify

1893, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About overclassify

Time Traveler for overclassify

Time Traveler

The first known use of overclassify was in 1893

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near overclassify




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for overclassify

Cite this Entry

“Overclassify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overclassify. Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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