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over·​light ˈō-vər-ˌlīt How to pronounce overlight (audio)
plural overlights
: a source of light that is located in a high position: such as
: a small window above a door
But photographs tell us that the French doors had rectangular overlights with semicircular fanlights …H. Parrott Bacot et al.
: a ceiling light
Cal stood on the neat porch and kept his finger on the bell until the harsh overlight flashed on and the night bolt rasped and Mrs. Bacon looked out.John Steinbeck


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over·​light ˌō-vər-ˈlīt How to pronounce overlight (audio)
overlit ˌō-vər-ˈlit How to pronounce overlight (audio) also overlighted; overlighting

transitive + intransitive

: to illuminate (something, such as a building) too brightly or thoroughly
As a general rule of thumb most people make the mistake of overlighting rooms …Melissa Penfold
overlit streets/offices
Do not overlight.… Remember, there are some things in your yard and home best left unlighted—faucets and hoses, garbage cans, a car in the driveway.Marshall Wright

Word History

First Known Use


1896, in the meaning defined above


1874, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overlight was in 1874

Dictionary Entries Near overlight

Cite this Entry

“Overlight.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overlight. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

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