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

Every day there were Blackhawk helicopters flying overhead. Susan Hoffman, latimes.com, "Volcanic eruption turns former Newport residents' Hawaiian dream to ashes," 16 June 2018 During the raid, helicopters whirred overhead, and officers from six law enforcement agencies swarmed the plant, the Salem News reported. Chrissie Thompson, Cincinnati.com, "ICE arrests 146 undocumented immigrants in Ohio raids at meat-packing plants," 20 June 2018 Playing off the windows are symmetrical side tables on both sides of the couch and decorative plates hanging overhead. Louisville Courier Journal, The Courier-Journal, "Blast from the past: This Glenmary home is a collector's paradise," 28 June 2018 As Pruitt testified in back-to-back budget hearings, at least 10 investigations into reports of ethical lapses and mismanagement at the EPA hung overhead. Evan Halper, latimes.com, "On Capitol Hill, EPA chief takes little responsibility for his troubles," 26 Apr. 2018 From Above Helicopters and drones hovered overhead searching for heat signatures and other signs of life, while police and soldiers rummaged through the jungle for chimneys that could provide an alternative entry point. Time, "A Youth Soccer Team Has Been Trapped in a Thai Cave for More Than a Week. Here's Why It's Taking So Long to Find Them," 2 July 2018 The raven thieving groceries from the back of your truck or the call of migrating swans high overhead all serve to bring our feathered neighbors to notice. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "Some words on birds and their impact on Alaska and the rest of the world," 24 June 2018 Police officers linger on the streets, and a helicopter swirls overhead. Brad Heath, USA TODAY, "Baltimore police stopped noticing crime after Freddie Gray's death. A wave of killings followed.," 12 July 2018 On the second day of the summit, planes from the British Royal Air Force streaked overhead celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Economist, "Thanks to Boris Johnson, a farcical west-Balkan summit in London," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The overhead lighting in the warehouse stays on around the clock. CBS News, "Inside look at Border Patrol facility in Texas housing hundreds of children," 17 June 2018 This was caused by a sanitation truck hitting the overhead sign on I-20/eb approaching Chapel Hill RD (Exit 36). Chelsea Prince, ajc, "BREAKING: 3 tractor-trailers collide, jam traffic before I-20 in Douglas County," 12 July 2018 The work was to be done in conjunction with the undergrounding of overhead lines. Steve Dreyer, Pomerado News, "Espola Road pathway errors add $877K in costs," 21 June 2018 Employee costs, overhead costs, the number of positions associated with performing tasks directly related to specific fees, and the number of times specific tasks are completed each year per user fee helped the consultant figure out new charges. Karen Pearlman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Fee hikes for park users in La Mesa have moms fit to be tied," 29 May 2018 The current $40 rate — the lowest in the nation and unchanged since 1995 — doesn't cover overhead costs for most experienced lawyers. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin Supreme Court urged to force Legislature's hand on defense lawyer pay," 16 May 2018 This year, Bennett will try using giant overhead fans to mix warmer upper air with the cold air around the vines. Zoë Schlanger, Newsweek, "California Drought Could Dry Up Wineries," 6 Feb. 2014 Sacred Games is awash in gunfights, dreamily gorgeous production, and tricky overhead shots. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Sacred Games Reinvents the Police Procedural," 12 July 2018 Siemens is trialling electric trucks in Germany, Sweden, and near the Port of Los Angeles, pulling juice from overhead cables (like a streetcar) instead of batteries. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "Sweden's Electric Robo-Truck Is Made for Life in the Forest," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Keivani confirmed the signal on the tarmac and sent it up to NASA’s Swift satellite overhead. Ian Haydon, Philly.com, "For the first time, scientists harness 'ghost particles' to study the universe and its black holes," 12 July 2018 Much of the money just goes to more outsized executive salaries and bloated overhead. Sally Jenkins, chicagotribune.com, "The USOC needs a leader who cares about athletes more than expense accounts," 5 July 2018 The closure is being done to remove an overhead digital message sign and stand at 18th Street, according to state Department of Transportation. Marci Shatzman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Southbound I-95 to shut down at Palmetto Park Road overnight Thursday," 27 June 2018 Mandell’s company, Hartford Sports Group, would pay $300,000 annually to cover overhead expenses and another $25,000 that would go into a community fund. Jenna Carlesso, Courant Community, "Demolition To Begin On Derelict Dillon Stadium," 22 June 2018 For more protection, just duck inside the restaurant's open overhead doors. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Patio dining and airy spaces in Milwaukee for when the weather is less than stellar," 18 June 2018 In our demo for instance, the main character often retreated to the treetops, then jumped down for a deadly overhead swipe. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "How Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice's grappling hook arm changes Dark Souls-style combat," 12 June 2018 After returning as publisher, Nina Duran cut the paper’s monthly overhead to about $60,000 from $146,000. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio’s La Prensa shuts down," 11 June 2018 Sweat dries upon the first touch of air, providing little relief from the beating sun overhead. Lori Hinnant, The Seattle Times, "Algeria abandons thousands of migrants in Sahara," 25 June 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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Statistics for overhead

Last Updated

7 Oct 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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Comments on overhead

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