over·​hear | \ˌō-vər-ˈhir \
overheard\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈhərd \; overhearing\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈhir-​iŋ \

Definition of overhear 

transitive verb

: to hear without the speaker's knowledge or intention

intransitive verb

: to overhear something

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Conversation overheard at dinner in the East Bay by Dan Wohlfeiler Leah Garchik is open for business in San Francisco, 415-777-8426. Leah Garchik, SFChronicle.com, "Tab Hunter on his fame: ‘Big deal’," 11 July 2018 After overhearing Spinner and Jay say that Jimmy played a part in the prank that made the whole school laugh at him, Rick returned to school with a gun and eventually shot Jimmy, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Nerisha Penrose, Billboard, "All the 'Degrassi' References in Drake's 'I'm Upset' Video," 14 June 2018 Haddish recalled overhearing the couple's conversation. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Lena Dunham denies claims she bit Beyonce's face at a party," 28 Mar. 2018 Similar comments have been overheard through the years. J.c. Carnahan, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Lake Brantley tailback Amani Brown thrives despite losing right foot as a child," 15 June 2018 At one point a conversation could be overheard as to where an x-ray machine might be placed. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "North Korea looms large in Singapore, but China takes front billing," 4 June 2018 Guests like Alexa Chung and Brad Goreski were overheard saying that the rain only added to the clothes’ dreaminess; a true silver lining. Kathleen Hou, The Cut, "Inside Dior’s Fashion Rodeo," 26 May 2018 It was led by Archbishop Luigi Negri, who made news in 2015, when he was overheard on a train wishing for the death of Pope Francis. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "‘Shut Up, Satan’: Rome Course Teaches Exorcism, Even by Cellphone," 19 Apr. 2018 Stephenson said he's overheard a number of debates from visitors about the toppling of statues around the country. Kristen De Groot, chicagotribune.com, "American Revolution Museum winning battle for tourists," 9 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of overhear

1549, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for overhear

Last Updated

26 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for overhear

The first known use of overhear was in 1549

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More Definitions for overhear



English Language Learners Definition of overhear

: to hear (something that was said to another person) by accident


over·​hear | \ˌō-vər-ˈhir \
overheard\ -​ˈhərd \; overhearing\ -​ˈhir-​iŋ \

Kids Definition of overhear

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

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Comments on overhear

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