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 overreacher (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 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, "Column: Democrats should reject court-packing," 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, "Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87," 19 Sep. 2020 And one member of the committee warned against a crackdown that might overreach, preventing ordinary families from using the park’s fire rings to roast marshmallows and unwind together in an idyllic setting. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Large bonfire parties on Mission Bay frustrate city officials, nearby residents," 7 Sep. 2020 Michigan rebels invade social media Not soon after lockdown orders took effect nationwide, critics took to social media, blowing up Facebook with cries of government overreach. Tresa Baldas, Freep.com, "Age of Resistance: How a virus riled up Michigan and spawned a rebellion," 17 May 2020 That’s the claim of Axon Enterprise in an important legal challenge to FTC overreach that anyone in business should care about. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Axon Takes On the Feds," 21 Feb. 2020 To President Trump, the industry’s complaints were a sure sign of government overreach. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Payday lenders faced tough new rules protecting consumers. Then Trump took office," 16 Aug. 2019 Amash has, throughout his career, railed against government overreach in both parties. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Justin Amash says he's considering a run for president after Trump remarks," 14 Apr. 2020 Distrust and suspicion toward mainlanders, already deepened by months of prodemocracy protests sparked by fears of Beijing overreach, have grown. Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, "The Other Problematic Outbreak," 13 Mar. 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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Time Traveler for overreach

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for overreach

Last Updated

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overreach.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overreach. Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for overreach


How to pronounce overreach (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overreach

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overreach

Britannica English: Translation of overreach for Arabic Speakers

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