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 overclassification (audio) \ noun, plural overclassifications
overclassification of students overclassification of government data

First Known Use of overclassify

1893, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of overclassify was in 1893

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Cite this Entry

“Overclassify.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overclassify. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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