over·​ex·​tend | \ ˌō-vər-ik-ˈstend How to pronounce overextend (audio) \
overextended; overextending; overextends

Definition of overextend

transitive verb

: to extend or expand beyond a safe or reasonable point especially : to commit (oneself) financially beyond what can be paid

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Other Words from overextend

overextension \ ˌō-​vər-​ik-​ˈsten(t)-​shən How to pronounce overextension (audio) \ noun

Examples of overextend in a Sentence

He overextended a muscle in his arm.
Recent Examples on the Web The Giants will continue to monitor him and plan not to overextend him. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Drew Smyly almost ready to rejoin Giants; with crowded rotation, what’s his role?," 7 Sep. 2020 Be aware of any tendency to overextend financially. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for August 22, 2020: Happy birthday James Corden; Aquarius, be sensible with money," 22 Aug. 2020 Tonight: Don't overextend financially; hunt for bargains. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope," 11 July 2020 Still, Littlefield is concerned that the reopening will overextend her budget. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, "Parents and child care providers are falling apart. It could get much worse," 1 June 2020 Doctors were overextended and new types of medical personnel were needed to take some pre-diagnostic tasks off their plates. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Emergency Medical Workers Are Integral to the Fight Against Coronavirus. Just a Few Decades Ago, America's EMS System Didn't Even Exist," 15 May 2020 By the time Maximilian was finally installed in May 1864, Napoleon’s ability to sustain an open-ended troop commitment was already wearing thin, his army overextended. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "The Real History of Cinco de Mayo," 5 May 2020 While government response at this point is highly focused, the affliction has penetrated so deeply into the population that institutional capabilities for response are overextended, making progress in repelling the attack extremely difficult. Thomas Hendrix, Fortune, "Military experts: We need to fight coronavirus like we fight insurgents on the battlefield," 16 Apr. 2020 That answer infuriated many progressives but also suggested that Biden feels no need to overextend himself in a primary that's essentially over and risk being portrayed as a radical by Trump in the general election. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "What leverage does Bernie Sanders have?," 27 Mar. 2020

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

1859, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for overextend

Time Traveler

The first known use of overextend was in 1859

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Statistics for overextend

Last Updated

12 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overextend.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overextend. Accessed 28 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for overextend


How to pronounce overextend (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overextend

: to extend or stretch (something) too far


transitive verb
over·​ex·​tend | \ ˌō-və-rik-ˈstend How to pronounce overextend (audio) \

Medical Definition of overextend

: to extend too far overextend the back

Other Words from overextend

overextension \ -​ˈsten-​chən How to pronounce overextension (audio) \ noun

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