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overkill

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verb over·kill \ˌō-vər-ˈkil\

Definition of overkill

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to obliterate (a target) with more nuclear force than required

First Known Use of overkill

1957


2

overkill

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noun over·kill \ˈō-vər-ˌkil\

Definition of overkill

  1. 1 :  a destructive capacity greatly exceeding that required for a given target

  2. 2 :  an excess of something (such as a quantity or an action) beyond what is required or suitable for a particular purpose publicity overkill an overkill in weaponry

  3. 3 :  killing in excess of what is intended or required

Examples of overkill in a Sentence

  1. Yes, we need a new car, but this huge truck seems like overkill.

  2. the song already borders on the maudlin—the addition of a syrupy string accompaniment would just be overkill

Recent Examples of overkill from the Web

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

First Known Use of overkill

1957


OVERKILL Defined for English Language Learners

overkill

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noun

Definition of overkill for English Language Learners

  • : something that is much larger, greater, etc., than what is needed for a particular purpose



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