over·​ear·​nest | \ ˌō-vər-ˈər-nəst How to pronounce overearnest (audio) \

Definition of overearnest

: excessively earnest or serious an overearnest scholar an overearnest expression on his face If we look back at our own lives, the people who have inspired and shaped us almost always turn out to be the "dull" ones: the thoughtful English teacher, the overearnest priest …— Martin Townsend

Other Words from overearnest

overearnestly adverb
… its portrait of a young country trying overearnestly to connect with its Old World heritage was as poignant as it was humorous. — Michael Upchurch
overearnestness noun
The film's first act drags on too long, so that by the time its fascinating third act arrives, we are slightly numbed by the overearnestness of the whole affair. — Colin Dabkowski

First Known Use of overearnest

1568, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overearnest

Time Traveler for overearnest

Time Traveler

The first known use of overearnest was in 1568

See more words from the same year

Statistics for overearnest

Cite this Entry

“Overearnest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overearnest. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

Comments on overearnest

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!