over·​hear | \ ˌō-vər-ˈhir How to pronounce overhear (audio) \
overheard\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈhərd How to pronounce overhear (audio) \; overhearing\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈhir-​iŋ How to pronounce overhear (audio) \

Definition of overhear

transitive verb

: to hear without the speaker's knowledge or intention

intransitive verb

: to overhear something

Examples of overhear in a Sentence

She overheard what her boss said to his secretary. I overheard a rumor about you. They were overheard discussing the project.
Recent Examples on the Web The name Hercules was not not said in conversations that I definitely, probably wasn’t supposed to overhear, but did. Adam B. Vary, Variety, 19 July 2022 Perhaps something that would simply be funny to overhear. Jodie Cook, Forbes, 30 June 2022 And the audience could overhear a conversation between Stern, Will Murray, Robin Quivers, and Gary Dell’Abate about the show. Chris Smith, BGR, 30 June 2022 The jailhouse beatdown has not been mentioned in front of the jury, and McKinney scolded Jansen on Wednesday for discussing the attack with reporters in the courthouse, concerned jurors might overhear. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, 29 June 2022 In the middle of the night recently, Laura’s father woke to overhear his daughter, in the next room, finishing a call with her boyfriend and then weeping. Stephania Taladrid, The New Yorker, 13 June 2022 Mark and Chris, 35, then overhear Lindsey shouting from afar. Dory Jackson, PEOPLE.com, 23 Feb. 2022 But kids could overhear conversations, or catch headlines. Max G. Levy, Wired, 28 Dec. 2021 Mary couldn't help but overhear Whitney's comment, and called her out in front of the group. Nicholas Rice, PEOPLE.com, 19 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overhear.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of overhear

1549, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for overhear

Time Traveler

The first known use of overhear was in 1549

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Dictionary Entries Near overhear

overhead valve



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Statistics for overhear

Last Updated

28 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Overhear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overhear. Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for overhear


over·​hear | \ ˌō-vər-ˈhir How to pronounce overhear (audio) \
overheard\ -​ˈhərd \; overhearing\ -​ˈhir-​iŋ \

Kids Definition of overhear

: to hear something by accident without the speaker's knowledge

More from Merriam-Webster on overhear

Nglish: Translation of overhear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overhear for Arabic Speakers


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