over·​reach | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrēch How to pronounce overreach (audio) , ˌō-və- \
overreached; overreaching; overreaches

Definition of overreach

transitive verb

1 : to reach above or beyond : overtop
2 : to defeat (oneself) by seeking to do or gain too much
3 : to get the better of especially in dealing and bargaining and typically by unscrupulous or crafty methods

intransitive verb

1 of a horse : to strike the forefoot with the front part of the hind foot
2a : to go to excess
3 : to overreach oneself

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Other Words from overreach

overreach \ ˈō-​vər-​ˌrēch How to pronounce overreach (audio) , ˈō-​və-​ , ˌō-​vər-​ˈrēch , ˌō-​və-​ \ noun
overreacher \ ˈō-​vər-​ˌrē-​chər How to pronounce overreach (audio) , ˈō-​və-​ , ˌō-​vər-​ˈrē-​chər , ˌō-​və-​ \ noun

Examples of overreach in a Sentence

She overreaches in her latest book, and her argument is not convincing. The company overreached itself and ran out of money after one year.
Recent Examples on the Web While the prose may overreach on occasion, more often it conveys insight. David A. Shaywitz, WSJ, 19 July 2021 Fischetti said any charges against the company based on fringe benefits would be overreach by prosecutors. Bernard Condon, ajc, 25 June 2021 Like many top puck-handlers (see: David Pastrnak), Hall can overreach when going one-on-one, but Cassidy didn’t say that has been a major issue. BostonGlobe.com, 28 May 2021 They were intended to be cautionary tales, warning women not to overreach, but the author wonders what would happen if women were to stop reading them as warnings and instead embrace them as aspirations. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Apr. 2021 Then there's the risk of civil liberties being violated, said Ehling, pointing to overreach from the FBI spying on political enemies as an example of how government surveillance can be abused. Andy Mannix, Star Tribune, 2 Mar. 2021 Republicans are gleeful, predicting that Democrats will overreach and alienate key voters just weeks before the Nov. 3 election. Mary Clare Jalonick And Elana Schor, Star Tribune, 10 Oct. 2020 The fatal temptation in a moment of triumph is to overreach, and Democrats are already at risk of trying to grab too much. Steve Chapman, chicagotribune.com, 9 Oct. 2020 That strategy not to overreach won her admiration from her more conservative colleagues, but her generally liberal record remained intact. Bill Mears, Fox News, 19 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overreach.' 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 overreach

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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The first known use of overreach was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Overreach.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overreach. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for overreach



English Language Learners Definition of overreach

: to try to do something that is beyond your ability to do


intransitive verb
over·​reach | \ -ˈrēch How to pronounce overreach (audio) \

Medical Definition of overreach

of a horse
: to strike the toe of the hind foot against the heel or quarter of the forefoot


transitive verb
over·​reach | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrēch How to pronounce overreach (audio) \

Legal Definition of overreach

: to make (someone or something) the subject of overreaching this uncounseled defendant was…overreached by the prosecution's submission of misinformation to the courtTownsend v. Burke, 334 U.S. 736 (1948) must determine whether it overreached privilegeNational Law Journal

More from Merriam-Webster on overreach

Britannica English: Translation of overreach for Arabic Speakers


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