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

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 This is where Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the EU, placed a call to President Trump, overheard by others. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Ukraine and Us," 19 Dec. 2019 The plan was discovered when a student overheard the teen talking about the plot and alerted a school administrator, who notified a school resource officer, Parrish said. Natasha Chen, CNN, "The pastor of a black church targeted in a foiled attack praises a student for preventing 'a bloodbath'," 24 Nov. 2019 These prompts became formal scores at the suggestion of a friend who overheard Boykin’s experiment. Lyndsay Knecht, Dallas News, "Dallas Black Dance Theatre will present a world premiere from choreographer Hope Boykin," 6 Feb. 2020 This is a complete and total misinterpretation based on overhearing only one side of a phone conversation. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "John Kerry Is the Latest Big-Name Democrat to Reportedly Express Fears of Big Bad Bernie Sanders," 3 Feb. 2020 Each episode presents a new birth story, told in painstaking detail, from morning sickness to the medical lingo overheard in the delivery room. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "The 50 Best Podcasts to Listen to Right Now," 20 Dec. 2019 This individual is no different from the person in a bar who overhears someone brag about a bank heist and calls the police tipline. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: If you can’t impeach …; Erosion in our society; No need to know whistle-blower; Fans are victims of greed; more responses (11/15/19)," 15 Nov. 2019 Even John Kerry, 76, a high-profile Biden supporter who is campaigning for him across the country, last week was overheard in an Iowa hotel discussing whether to announce his own second stab at the presidency. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "New Hampshire voters suggest Bloomberg and Warren wasting money on ads hugging Obama," 8 Feb. 2020 Kerry, who has been campaigning for former vice president Joe Biden, was overheard discussing Sanders at a Des Moines hotel, according to a report from NBC News. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "John Kerry Is the Latest Big-Name Democrat to Reportedly Express Fears of Big Bad Bernie Sanders," 3 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for overhear

Time Traveler

The first known use of overhear was in 1549

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Statistics for overhear

Last Updated

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overhear.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overhear. Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for overhear


How to pronounce overhear (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overhear

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


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

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Comments on overhear

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