overhead

adverb
over·​head | \ˌō-vər-ˈhed \

Definition of overhead 

(Entry 1 of 3)

: above one's head : aloft

overhead

adjective
over·​head | \ˈō-vər-ˌhed \

Definition of overhead (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : operating, lying, or coming from above

b : having the driving part above the part driven valves operated by an overhead camshaft

2 : of or relating to overhead overhead costs

overhead

noun
over·​head | \ˈō-vər-ˌhed \

Definition of overhead (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : business expenses (such as rent, insurance, or heating) not chargeable to a particular part of the work or product

2 : ceiling especially : the ceiling of a ship's compartment

3 : a stroke in a racket game made above head height : smash

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Synonyms & Antonyms for overhead

Synonyms: Adverb

above, aloft, over

Antonyms: Adverb

below, beneath, under

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Examples of overhead in a Sentence

Adverb

A chandelier hung directly overhead. People were making noise in the balcony overhead.

Noun

Her company has very little overhead.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Everyone who tracks overhead calculates it a little differently. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "One of the most frequently used criteria for judging a charity is also one of the worst," 27 Nov. 2018 Luckily, Mars Odyssey, another spacecraft that’s been orbiting Mars since 2001, will pass overhead to see if the panels have been deployed. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Watch NASA engineers track the harrowing landing of a spacecraft on Mars today," 26 Nov. 2018 Rest your arms by your sides, palms down (an easier version of the move), or place them overhead like Campbell, grabbing a fixed object such as a friend’s legs, a chair, table legs, etc. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Naomi Campbell Trains While She Travels With This One Versatile Core Move," 23 Nov. 2018 Early the next morning in Tokyo, as thick clouds from Jebi’s outer bands raced overhead, an offshore earthquake rattled softly but perceptibly through the city. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Quietly, Japan has established itself as a power in the aerospace industry," 15 Nov. 2018 Humans have pondered the mysteries of the universe for millennia, tracking the sun’s vibrant motion, the moon’s beguiling cycle, and the swirl of boundless stars overhead. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "Each Zodiac Sign's Unique Personality Traits, Explained by an Astrologer," 28 Oct. 2018 The security arsenal features police boats patrolling the East River near the U.N., aviation units overhead and teams of officers trained to respond to chemical, biological and other potential terror threats. Tom Hays, Fox News, "Police beef up security for UN gathering, Trump visit," 22 Sep. 2018 Israeli reconnaissance drones continued to buzz overhead. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Cease-fire takes hold between Israel and Hamas," 13 Nov. 2018 The electrical system is also an important factor; the Beartooth features solar panels, a battery separator, an AGM battery, overhead lighting, and plenty of 12v, 110v, and USB outlets. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Luxury camper van fits all the essentials in 112 square feet," 16 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The bag’s straps can even stow away, making the whole thing easier to shove into an overhead compartment. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Peak Design’s new $300 Travel Backpack is designed to be the ultimate carry-on bag," 23 July 2018 Looks like the battle for the overhead bin will only continue to heat up. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "United Will Now Charge You $30 for a Checked Bag," 4 Sep. 2018 The unidentified woman reportedly boarded the plane with her carry-on suitcase, but was unable to fit it in the overhead bin. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "'Verbally abusive' United Airlines passenger caused massive delay after refusing to check bag, leave aircraft," 18 July 2018 The infrared sensors detect vehicles that are too tall nearing or entering a parkway ramp and trigger an alert to the driver on an overhead electronic road sign that warns the driver to pull over. Author: Stefanie Dazio, Rachelle Blidner, Anchorage Daily News, "Dozens injured on Long Island as busload of students plows into low overpass," 9 Apr. 2018 The Arizona Department of Transportation received about 2,200 submissions for its Safety Message Contest, and officials want your help deciding which messages will be displayed on overhead signs in April. Adrian Marsh, azcentral, "You wrote, now vote: Pick your favorite ADOT freeway sign safety message from 15 finalists," 15 Mar. 2018 Just before midnight, a car headed eastbound near Fannin spun out into the base of an overhead traffic sign. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Driver killed in Loop 610 wreck after hitting base of sign pole," 25 Feb. 2018 The Lewis & Clark project will begin affecting traffic Thursday night as crews will have intermittent lane closings overnight along northbound Interstate 35 from 17th Street to Interstate 70 to place overhead signs. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, "How a Kansas bridge project will make navigating downtown KC more challenging," 1 Feb. 2018 Recently, the overhead signs featured adapted Taylor Swift lyrics. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Iowa Is Hilariously Using Taylor Swift Lyrics on Road Signs to Prevent Texting and Driving," 3 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Since overhead lights and windows tend to cause the most glare, using lower wattage bulbs or coverings like blinds may also help. Korin Miller, SELF, "7 Ways to Keep Your Eyes Comfortable If You Work at Computer All Day," 5 Oct. 2018 The culture is that workers turn off their overhead lights and use only a small desk lamp and the light from their computers. New York Times, "How to Deal With Misguided Job Inquiries," 22 June 2018 Gideon stood up on his hind legs and spread his arms out wide, the black pads of his clawless paws reflecting the sheen of the swinging overhead lights. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Algren Award runner-up: "Am I Not Your Animal" by Matt Jones," 2 June 2018 Another surgeon simply points a large overhead light inside Aaron. Longreads, "Somewhere Under My Left Ribs: A Nurse’s Story," 31 May 2018 While the room is devoid of windows, the overhead lights are kept to a medium-low level, so again, gym class vibes are far more prominent than those of a dance party. Grace Dickinson, Philly.com, "Which Philly-area spin studio classes are worth the hype and heavy price tag?," 29 May 2018 The cabin is darkened and overhead lights can be seen swirling through the smoke. Alex Horton, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Flight from hell’: A 3-hour delay, billowing smoke and passengers scrambling onto the wing," 9 May 2018 The cabin is darkened and overhead lights can be seen swirling through the smoke. Alex Horton, Washington Post, "‘Flight from hell’: A 3-hour delay, billowing smoke and passengers scrambling onto the wing," 9 May 2018 This new approach should remedy some of the more awkward aspects of the original Zen; for example, there is a significant latency overhead when a core on one Zen die has to use memory from another die. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "AMD outlines its future: 7nm GPUs with PCIe 4, Zen 2, Zen 3, Zen 4," 6 Nov. 2018

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

Adverb

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1682, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Learn More about overhead

Statistics for overhead

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overhead

The first known use of overhead was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for overhead

overhead

noun

Financial Definition of overhead

What It Is

Overhead refers to the ongoing operating expenses necessary to running a business, but are not attributed to a specific business activity.  Also referred to as "indirect costs."

How It Works

Generally, overhead expenses include expenses that do not directly generate revenues, such as labor and materials, but are needed to maintain the business operations.  Overhead expenses include expenses such as accounting, advertising, depreciation, insurance, interest, legal, rent, repairs, office supplies, taxes, information and communications, utilities, research and development, customer relations and service, and travel.  These overhead expenses are listed on the company's income statement.

Why It Matters

Overhead costs are considered fixed costs, that is, they do not rise or fall directly with the cost of goods sold.   Overhead costs are important to monitor and control.  Since they are not directly related to revenues, they can become a larger share of the total expenses and burden a company, soaking up net income and profits.

Source: Investing Answers

overhead

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of overhead

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: above someone's head : in the sky or space above someone

overhead

noun

English Language Learners Definition of overhead (Entry 2 of 2)

: costs for rent, heat, electricity, etc., that a business must pay and that are not related to what the business sells

overhead

adverb
over·​head | \ˌō-vər-ˈhed \

Kids Definition of overhead

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: above someone's head : in the sky or space above someone A chandelier hung directly overhead.

overhead

adjective
over·​head | \ˈō-vər-ˌhed \

Kids Definition of overhead (Entry 2 of 3)

: placed in the space above someone an overhead light

overhead

noun
over·​head | \ˈō-vər-ˌhed \

Kids Definition of overhead (Entry 3 of 3)

: the general expenses (as for rent or heat) of a business

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overhead

noun
over·​head | \ˈō-vər-ˌhed \

Legal Definition of overhead 

: business expenses (as rent or insurance) not chargeable to a particular part of the work or product

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More from Merriam-Webster on overhead

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overhead

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overhead

Spanish Central: Translation of overhead

Nglish: Translation of overhead for Spanish Speakers

Comments on overhead

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