over·​pop·​u·​late | \ ˌō-vər-ˈpä-pyə-ˌlāt How to pronounce overpopulate (audio) \
overpopulated; overpopulating; overpopulates

Definition of overpopulate

transitive verb

: to populate too densely : furnish or provide with more than the environment or market will bear

intransitive verb

: to become overly populous

Examples of overpopulate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

And when burros overpopulate and damage areas of the western United States, they are rounded up and sent to corrals to manage their numbers. Meghan Dunn, CNN, "Inside the country's largest sanctuary for abused and neglected donkeys," 30 Aug. 2019 Certain prey species would overpopulate and disrupt fisheries. Don Lyman, BostonGlobe.com, "Besides great whites, there’s little to fear among local sharks," 14 Aug. 2019 Such are the delicate manias overpopulating the weird Western world of Perpetual Grace, LTD (airing Sundays at 10 p.m. on Epix). Darren Franich, EW.com, "Perpetual Grace, LTD is a scuzzy-dreamy border noir worth the price of Epix Now," 28 June 2019 Thanos is the ultimate Malthusian, believing that the universe is overpopulated and will eventually run out of resources—precisely what happened to his own home town. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "At last! Marvel finally drops first trailer for Avengers: Endgame," 7 Dec. 2018 Tired of the old-school hoops and baroque pearls overpopulating your Instagram feed? Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "Why a Simple Shell Is This Summer’s Must-Have Jewelry," 18 July 2018 Navajo Nation officials warn that feral horses have overpopulated the reservation beyond the ecosystem’s ability to support them and have attempted at least once to forcibly reduce the population. Alex Devoid, azcentral, "Volunteers care for Navajo wild horses during drought, despite overpopulation concerns," 13 July 2018 Castine, Maine Maine has some of the last dark spots left on the United States’ overpopulated Eastern Seaboard. Megan Michelson, Outside Online, "These Are the Best Stargazing Spots in North America," 13 July 2018 The 35th District, in contrast, was found to have been overpopulated with Hispanics, depriving them of the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice in a neighboring district. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "In Racial Gerrymandering Case, Texas Defends Its Legislative Districts," 24 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of overpopulate

1828, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overpopulate

Dictionary Entries near overpopulate








Statistics for overpopulate

Last Updated

13 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overpopulate

The first known use of overpopulate was in 1828

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on overpopulate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overpopulate

Britannica English: Translation of overpopulate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on overpopulate

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



Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!