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 Many people also thought authorities had overreached by charging his 15-year-old friend, Justin Doyle, and 16-year-old Nathan Whitmire as adults with his murder. Dahleen Glanton, chicagotribune.com, "Column: A kid charged with his friend’s murder during a botched burglary in 2008 got a second chance. The teens charged in Lake County deserve one too.," 26 Aug. 2019 Porsche and its ambitious CEO, Wendelin Wiedeking, overreached — building up a 51% stake in Volkswagen, but loading Porsche with debt just as the economy turned sour in 2008. Geir Moulson, chicagotribune.com, "Volkswagen patriarch, ‘an enthusiastic engineer and car lover until the end,’ dies at 82," 27 Aug. 2019 Mr Snowden’s critique of government overreach is powerful. The Economist, "Edward Snowden’s memoir reveals some (but not all)," 13 Sep. 2019 But critics say Amazon’s products and services also show how a corporation can position itself within government in ways that could lead to overreach and abuse. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, "Amazon is developing high-tech surveillance tools for an eager customer: America's police," 8 Aug. 2019 His case quickly drew the support of immigrant-rights advocates, who assert that Bello is a victim of overreaching federal agents, emboldened by the Trump administration’s policies, who trampled on his 1st Amendment rights. Los Angeles Times, "An immigrant poet and activist faced deportation by ICE. Then two NFL players bailed him out," 16 Sep. 2019 Across the country, gang databases are coming under scrutiny by justice reform advocates who say the lists exemplify police overreach that can lead to civil rights violations. NBC News, "He's a gang intervention worker. But California police call him a gang member.," 18 Aug. 2019 The complaint argued that the city overreached in its regulatory power by including businesses that are headquartered outside Dallas but have employees who work within the city limits. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "Dallas city attorney responds to paid sick leave lawsuit, wants new judge in case," 14 Aug. 2019 From Facebook’s personal data overreaches to thousands of e-commerce sites that trick people into superfluous purchases to cities implementing facial-recognition systems without consent, the tech industry continues to stress-test trust. Pamela Pavliscak, Quartz, "Forget AI ethics—treat technology like a new relationship instead," 2 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for overreach

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for overreach

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overreach

Britannica English: Translation of overreach for Arabic Speakers

Comments on overreach

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not being in agreement or harmony

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