over·​com·​pen·​sa·​tion | \ ˌō-vər-ˌkäm-pən-ˈsā-shən, -ˌpen-\

Definition of overcompensation

: excessive compensation specifically : excessive reaction to a feeling of inferiority, guilt, or inadequacy leading to an exaggerated attempt to overcome the feeling

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Other Words from overcompensation

overcompensate \ ˌō-​vər-​ˈkäm-​pən-​ˌsāt \ verb
overcompensatory \ ˌō-​vər-​kəm-​ˈpen(t)-​sə-​ˌtȯr-​ē \ adjective

Examples of overcompensation in a Sentence

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Rachel, whose father (Robert, played by Wendell Pierce) is a bigfoot lawyer who drives a menacing Range Rover, bears the stigma of failing to get admitted to Harvard Law School, a source of much Sturm und Drang and testy overcompensation. James Wolcott, HWD, "Confessions of a Suits Fan: Why the Legal Drama That Launched Meghan Markle Works," 27 Apr. 2018 Or, if the hat is large, a not-so-subtle overcompensation for another kind of male insecurity, this one lower-half-related. Liza Corsillo, GQ, "Your Jaunty Hat Is Ruining Your Tinder Pictures," 1 Feb. 2018 Ken Paige, an evolutionary ecologist also at he University of Illinois and principal investigator of the study, first observed overcompensation in the scarlet gilia in 1987. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "Meet the Overcompensators, Plants That Get Tougher and Meaner When Attacked," 20 Oct. 2017 Overworking one part of the core and underworking another is a recipe for asymmetry, overcompensation, and muscle strains and pains. Amy Marturana, SELF, "These Are the Abs Exercises You Should Skip If You Have Lower Back Pain," 16 Sep. 2017 The Scaramucci epoch represented an overcompensation. Crispin Sartwell, WSJ, "All the President’s Men and Their Styles of Masculinity," 4 Aug. 2017 As a woman, Natasha has neither Stanley’s societal standing as a man nor his accompanying confidence; here as always, sadism reflects overcompensation. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Three Sisters' yearn for a better life, against the odds," 14 Aug. 2017 Lange is forever rubbing lemons on her elbows or doing jittery calisthenics, haughty with overcompensation. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "“Feud”: A Bittersweet Beauty," 20 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overcompensation.' 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 overcompensation

1839, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of overcompensation was in 1839

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More Definitions for overcompensation


over·​com·​pen·​sa·​tion | \ -ˌkäm-pən-ˈsā-shən, -ˌpen- \

Medical Definition of overcompensation

: excessive compensation specifically : excessive reaction to a feeling of inferiority, guilt, or inadequacy leading to an exaggerated attempt to overcome the feeling

Other Words from overcompensation

overcompensate \ -​ˈkäm-​pən-​ˌsāt \ verb overcompensated; overcompensating
overcompensatory \ -​kəm-​ˈpen(t)-​sə-​ˌtōr-​ē, -​ˌtȯr-​ \ adjective

Comments on overcompensation

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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