overhead

adverb
over·​head | \ ˌō-vər-ˈhed How to pronounce overhead (audio) \

Definition of overhead

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: above one's head : aloft

overhead

adjective
over·​head | \ ˈō-vər-ˌhed How to pronounce overhead (audio) \

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 How to pronounce overhead (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for overhead

Synonyms: Adverb

Antonyms: Adverb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb However, this doesn’t quite fit with an earlier teaser for Antebellum, which shows a group of workers on the plantation looking up to find a modern plane flying overhead. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "Is This Officially The Most Mysterious Horror Movie Of The Year?," 6 Mar. 2020 As a helicopter buzzed overhead and police officers manned a cordon, thousands of people marched on the centre of the city waving handmade signs with jokes, chanting amiably. The Economist, "Virginia’s gun rally won’t halt gun-control laws," 23 Jan. 2020 Helicopters buzzed overhead and terrified residents jumped up from their folding chairs every time the earth shook, yelling at others to stay away from power lines. Danica Coto, Anchorage Daily News, "5.8-magnitude quake strikes Puerto Rico, damaging homes," 6 Jan. 2020 American Apache helicopters flew overhead and dropped flares over the area. Qassim Abdul-zahra, The Denver Post, "Militiamen breach U.S. Embassy in Baghdad," 31 Dec. 2019 This keeps overhead low and helps keep member fees low too. Jamie Swinnerton, Houston Chronicle, "Woodlands-based nonprofit is looking for more volunteers to help older residents age in place," 18 Feb. 2020 To create overhead lighting, attach one of the softboxes to the boom arm and keep it in place with the sandbag. Popular Science, "Photography lighting kits for beginners," 11 Feb. 2020 Visitors can walk through a re-creation of Ardennes, where the Battle of the Bulge was fought in bitter cold, snowy conditions in late 1944 and early 1945; and gaze up and see airplanes overhead in a barrack under attack in the Air War gallery. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "National World War II Museum in New Orleans tells an emotional, heart-wrenching tale," 9 Feb. 2020 Outside a church, just about then, Scott Daehlin heard a helicopter buzzing overhead, moving to the east. New York Times, "‘Helicopter Went Down, Flames Seen’: Kobe Bryant’s Last Flight," 8 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Previously, manufacturers would screen-print the same design onto items such as T-shirts, an overhead-intensive approach that usually requires bulk orders to turn a profit. Roger Sollenberger, Wired, "The Freewheeling, Copyright-Infringing World of Custom-Printed Tees," 16 Mar. 2020 So, Bill Bishop, the geologist in charge, ordered a plane to fly close overhead and drop unfurled toilet paper rolls. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, "A brief history of toilet paper in Anchorage," 16 Mar. 2020 These include their seat and seat belt, the surrounding carpet, armrests, tray tables, windows and overhead compartment handles. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "'It's an awful risk': Former FDA head Scott Gottlieb cautions against cruises amid coronavirus," 10 Mar. 2020 Other parts of the project include adding sensors to overhead streets lights in all three areas to monitor air pollution and heat. Randy Diamond, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio to test driverless vehicles at Brooks," 24 Feb. 2020 The company's aircraft on the ground overnight will have those same high-touch areas cleaned as well as seats, window shades and overhead compartment handles. Amanda Maile, ABC News, "Book the window seat: How to stay healthy when flying amid the new coronavirus outbreak," 6 Mar. 2020 These include their seat and seat belt, the surrounding carpet, armrests, tray tables, windows and overhead compartment handles. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "CDC updates airline coronavirus guidance for aircraft cleaning, dealing with ill passengers," 6 Mar. 2020 The show even presents that cinematic, idealized version of teen outsider-dom, complete with Wes Anderson-y individual frame compositions and prop design (overhead shots of a mer-cat diary? Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "I Am Not Okay with This," 29 Feb. 2020 Holding this position, raise the dumbbells out to your sides at a 90-degree angle, creating a goal post shape with the weights in line with your ears, then press them up towards the ceiling, performing an overhead press. Stephanie Mansour, NBC News, "15-minute workouts: This 31-day dumbbell routine will tone and strengthen your entire body," 29 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With so much uncertainty hanging overhead — How long will this last? Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit musicians face unique challenge as stages and venues go quiet," 22 Mar. 2020 Federal policymakers are trying to prevent the temporary stop in commerce from translating into permanent dislocations for companies that face ongoing overhead expenses and workers who have to pay mortgages and student debt. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Senate GOP unveils $1,200 direct cash payments in massive stimulus proposal," 19 Mar. 2020 Microsoft’s Goossen told Digitial Foundry that doing decompression on the 4K textures to match the speed of the SSD rate would have consumed three Zen 2 CPU cores, plus an additional two more just for the I/O overhead. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "The backbone of the Xbox Series X's ultra-fast storage technology is coming to Windows," 17 Mar. 2020 The same overhead digital signs that might otherwise have traffic updates now urge drivers to wash their hands and avoid gatherings. Julia Wickstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Unprecedented closures in Los Angeles," 16 Mar. 2020 Six Flags boasted performances, Civil War reenactments, and an overhead train that whisked visitors away on a bird’s eye tour of the sprawling complex. Owen Prout, Dallas News, "Arlington, Texas: How a tiny train stop grew into North Texas’ premier entertainment destination," 11 Mar. 2020 In September, her team had booted up a white machine, small enough to fit in an airplane’s overhead compartment and designed to read out DNA letters one by one. Megan Molteni, Wired, "A Disease Tracker Backed by Gates and Zuckerberg Tackles Covid-19," 10 Mar. 2020 Toyota also is experimenting with lightweight exoskeletons to reduce upper-body strain among workers performing repetitive overhead tasks that can lead to shoulder injuries. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Wearable Devices Take Ergonomics to a New High-Tech Place," 4 Mar. 2020 The urgency of the meeting follows a wave of concern from restaurants about delivery apps offering their food online without their knowledge and competition from low-overhead virtual restaurants, as highlighted in two Chronicle articles last month. Shwanika Narayan, SFChronicle.com, "Ghost kitchens, delivery apps: What’s their impact on SF restaurants?," 26 Feb. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overhead

Time Traveler for overhead

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for overhead

Last Updated

24 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overhead.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overhead. Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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
How to pronounce overhead (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overhead

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

overhead

noun
How to pronounce overhead (audio)

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

US : 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 How to pronounce overhead (audio) \

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 How to pronounce overhead (audio) \

Kids Definition of overhead (Entry 2 of 3)

: placed in the space above someone an overhead light

overhead

noun
over·​head | \ ˈō-vər-ˌhed How to pronounce overhead (audio) \

Kids Definition of overhead (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Keep scrolling for more

overhead

noun
over·​head | \ ˈō-vər-ˌhed How to pronounce overhead (audio) \

Legal Definition of overhead

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on overhead

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overhead

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overhead

Spanish Central: Translation of overhead

Nglish: Translation of overhead for Spanish Speakers

Comments on overhead

What made you want to look up overhead? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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