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

An after-party followed at Locanda Verde, where people were in high spirits; mostly from overhearing the fiction-like firsthand stories being shared around the room. Kendall Lindsay, Vogue, "Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary Festival May Be Canceled, But a Documentary Has Just Premiered," 2 May 2019 According to the Daily Mail, a fellow shopper at The Range overheard the Duchess of Cambridge call Princess Charlotte by an adorable, and unexpected, nickname. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton’s Nickname for Princess Charlotte Is Beyond Adorable," 26 Dec. 2018 Naturally this did not prove appealing to local coaches, like the group whom Mike overheard at one Christmas tournament, laughing and wondering why a fifth-grader was allowed on the ice with much older skaters. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "Despite a Lengthy Hockey Hiatus, Brandon Tanev Has Developed Nicely for the Jets," 2 May 2018 The coach who overheard them reported the discussion to Faehn, who reported it to then USAG president Steve Penny. Alice Park, Time, "Gymnast Who Was Abused by Larry Nassar Says MSU Must Do More Than Pay $500 Million. It Must Change," 18 May 2018 Baby Sussex is due in late April/early May, according to royals reporters who overheard Markle tell this to well-wishers in Birkenhead, England on January 14. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Royal Baby: Everything We Know," 24 Jan. 2019 According to court records first unearthed this week by reporter Brian Krebs, law enforcement learned of the plot when a mother in Michigan overheard her son pretending to be an AT&T employee and called investigators. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Florida man arrested in alleged multi-state SIM card hacking ring," 11 Aug. 2018 The tip referenced a student who overheard another student threatening an act of violence, Hunt said in his statement. Evan Macdonald, cleveland.com, "Nothing to substantiate shooting rumor that caused Chagrin Falls High School lockdown, officials say," 23 Mar. 2018 The fear of someone overhearing your business calendar as it’s being read to you should go away with the Surface Headphones. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Hands-on with Microsoft's Surface Headphones: tune out the outside world to focus," 3 Oct. 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

23 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on overhear

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overhear

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overhear

Spanish Central: Translation of overhear

Nglish: Translation of overhear for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overhear for Arabic Speakers

Comments on overhear

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


highly pertinent or appropriate

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