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

Examples of overearnest in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The middling monologues, the teary and overearnest speeches, the celebration of cinema through occasionally tacky but still moving montages — these are things people like about the Oscars. Vulture, 8 Mar. 2023 The movie opens with a pragmatic young woman (Buckley) mulling whether to break up with Jake (Jesse Plemons), her stifling and overearnest boyfriend of seven weeks. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 4 Sep. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overearnest.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1568, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overearnest was in 1568

Dictionary Entries Near overearnest

Cite this Entry

“Overearnest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overearnest. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

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