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 Man to man, overheard at bar in the Castro by Mike McKee Leah Garchik is open for business in San Francisco, 415-777-8426. Leah Garchik, SFChronicle.com, "And (almost finally), some of the things I hate," 19 June 2019 The history of Cleveland’s Dawg Pound dates to 1985, when fans overheard two Browns cornerbacks, Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield, barking at their defensive line. SI.com, "A History of Football in 100 Objects," 28 Aug. 2019 Most of the waitstaff has a bizarre experience to share, like seeing reflections of faces in glass cases, hearing footsteps when no one was there, overhearing conversations between invisible people and seeing faucets turn themselves on. Allyson Reedy, The Know, "Are these Colorado restaurants haunted? That depends on who you ask.," 23 Aug. 2019 How should the companies handle the accidental information that its contractors overhear? Anna Washenko, Ars Technica, "Siri records fights, doctor’s appointments, and sex (and contractors hear it)," 26 July 2019 Speak privately Do not confront your boss in public in front of coworkers and clients, or in a public place where there’s the potential to be overheard, so as not to embarrass them. Scott Steinberg, Quartz at Work, "The best way to correct your boss when they’ve made a mistake," 9 Sep. 2019 Also, apparently Tyler's mom was overheard telling friends that her son was going to be the next Bachelor? Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Will Hannah Brown and Tyler Cameron Get Together Post-'Bachelorette'?," 17 July 2019 With her many connections at all levels of society, Origo is well-placed to listen and to overhear. Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, "‘A Chill in the Air’ Review: A Tuscan Idyll Before the War," 30 Aug. 2018 At least one gunshot was overheard by neighbors and prompted three 911 calls. Nicole Hensley, Houston Chronicle, "Teen apprehended in shooting death of 16-year-old boy in Richmond park," 22 Aug. 2019

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

24 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for overhear

The first known use of overhear was in 1549

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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

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


to spread as a report or rumor

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