over·​fish ˌō-vər-ˈfish How to pronounce overfish (audio)
overfished; overfishing; overfishes

transitive verb

: to fish to the detriment of (a fishing ground) or to the depletion of (a kind of organism)

Examples of overfish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The problem is that Antarctic toothfish is very easy to overfish because of its unhurried reproduction cycle. Tristram Korten, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Aug. 2020 Commercial fishing has led to more than 90% of marine fish stocks becoming fully fished or overfished. Cnn Staff, CNN, 7 June 2020 The precise number is often debated by conservationists but the United Nations has estimated about a third of global fisheries are overfished. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, 4 Mar. 2019 Problems facing seahorse communities are far and wide, and populations are often overfished to supply medicine, aquarium displays and souvenirs. London Gibson, Indianapolis Star, 12 May 2020 Conservationists are concerned that the high seas are being overfished; fishery defenders reply that their fishing helps feed the hungry. J. B. MacKinnon, The Atlantic, 19 Mar. 2020 Still, scientists emphasize the need for tough regulations to counter effects of climate change as ocean pollution and overfishing remain challenges in many parts of the world. Nusmila Lohani, The Christian Science Monitor, 17 Apr. 2020 Many fish populations are moving, too, or are overfished or nearing it, and much of that fishing is done illegally. Tatiana Schlossberg, New York Times, 8 Apr. 2020 The greatest current stressors on Antarctic krill are warming seas and the retreat of ice around Antarctica rather than overfishing. Lucy Jakub, Harper's magazine, 2 Mar. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overfish.' 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

1855, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overfish was in 1855

Dictionary Entries Near overfish

Cite this Entry

“Overfish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overfish. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


over·​fish -ˈfish How to pronounce overfish (audio)
: to fish too much for (a kind of fish) or in (a certain area)
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!