over·​re·​act | \ ˌō-vər-rē-ˈakt How to pronounce overreact (audio) \
overreacted; overreacting

Definition of overreact

intransitive verb

: to react to something too strongly : to respond to something with too strong an emotion or with unnecessary or excessive action I was furious and yelled at him. He told me I was overreacting and to "chillax."— Ben Stein The world isn't coming to an end. You shouldn't overreact to the negative news.— Adam Bryant Some of his animals had become apprehensive and twitchy, overreacting to sound or touch …— Mark Caldwell But the military police overreacted, using tear gas, rubber bullets and excessive force in front of news cameras that spread the images countrywide.— Grant Wahl … the poisonous surfeit of hormones produced by the overreacting immune system.— Shannon Brownlee Sometimes companies in a little bit of trouble are the best investments because the market has overreacted.— Orson C. Clay

Other Words from overreact

overreaction \ ˌō-​vər-​rē-​ˈak-​shən How to pronounce overreact (audio) \ noun, plural overreactions
… he had said almost angrily that he couldn't tell her anything without eliciting a huge overreaction. — Ann Beattie This response is an overreaction by your immune system to an otherwise harmless substance, such as pollen or pet dander. Medical Clinic Health Letter

First Known Use of overreact

1919, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of overreact was in 1919

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Cite this Entry

“Overreact.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overreact. Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for overreact



English Language Learners Definition of overreact

: to respond to something with an emotion that is too strong or an action that is unnecessary : to react to something too strongly


over·​re·​act | \ ˌō-vər-rē-ˈakt \
overreacted; overreacting

Kids Definition of overreact

: to respond with an emotion that is too strong or an action that is extreme or unnecessary After being criticized, he overreacted and quit the team.


intransitive verb
over·​re·​act | \ ˌō-və(r)-rē-ˈakt How to pronounce overreact (audio) \

Medical Definition of overreact

: to react excessively or too strongly the body's immune system overreacts to the endotoxin— Tina Adler

Other Words from overreact

overreaction \ -​ˈak-​shən How to pronounce overreact (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on overreact

Nglish: Translation of overreact for Spanish Speakers


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