over·​drive | \ ˈō-vər-ˌdrīv How to pronounce overdrive (audio) \

Definition of overdrive

1 : an automotive transmission gear that transmits to the drive shaft a speed greater than engine speed
2 : a state of heightened activity going into rhetorical overdrive

Examples of overdrive in a Sentence

He put the car into overdrive. His acting career is in overdrive. The reporters went into overdrive to finish their stories on time.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The 9/11 attacks and the Bush–Obama wars pushed the year-on-year increases into overdrive until the rate dipped slightly below the 5 percent line in 2015. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "The Military-Industrial Virus," 10 June 2019 Crowder has gone into overdrive making videos about his impending ban from YouTube at Maza’s hands, warning his millions of subscribers that corporate media is about to crush them and stifle all free speech. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Three ways YouTube could fight harassment," 6 June 2019 And every year, in the lead-up to June, the authorities go into overdrive. NBC News, "As the world commemorates Tiananmen Square, China is silent," 4 June 2019 The president seems to think that Biden is his most formidable 2020 rival and has gone into nickname overdrive, now calling the former vice president Sleepy Creepy Biden. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: “How Do You Stop These People?” “Shoot Them!”," 12 May 2019 Riverdale fans are in overdrive after Camila Mendes posted a pretty cozy Instagram with costar Charles Melton. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Camila Mendes Posts Kissing Photo With Charles Melton," 7 Oct. 2018 Not to mention that her libido is in overdrive during this time. Anonymous As Told To Sophie Saint Thomas, Marie Claire, "I'm a Man Who's Turned On by Your Period," 19 Sep. 2016 Look Is a Vintage Score In the last year, Kim Kardashian West’s love of vintage fashion has gone into overdrive. Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West’s Latest Look Is a Vintage Score," 18 Apr. 2019 Migration to Houston has gone into overdrive in the past 15 years largely because the absence of zoning laws has kept housing comparatively cheap. The Economist, "Demography is not destinyBuilding a multiracial coalition is more difficult than it seems," 12 July 2018

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

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for overdrive

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for overdrive

The first known use of overdrive was in 1926

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More Definitions for overdrive



English Language Learners Definition of overdrive

: a gear in an automobile that allows it to be driven at higher speeds
: a state of great activity especially in order to achieve something

More from Merriam-Webster on overdrive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overdrive

Comments on overdrive

What made you want to look up overdrive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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