over·​spe·​cial·​ize | \ ˌō-vər-ˈspe-shə-ˌlīz How to pronounce overspecialize (audio) \
overspecialized; overspecializing

Definition of overspecialize

: to specialize to an excessive degree: such as
a intransitive : to restrict oneself to an extremely narrow field or occupation scientists who overspecialize Don't overspecialize. Take advantage of every opportunity to add to your repertoire of skills and store of knowledge.— Andrew Benett
b transitive : to restrict (something) to an excessively narrow focus or scope overspecialized their students' education … is considering adding a la carte services … such as firewalls and gaming services, but doesn't plan to overspecialize its offerings too soon.— Ed Gubbins Unfortunately, the mobility and sophistication of modern criminals seems to be growing at an alarming rate. In response, some police agencies tend to overspecialize their criminal investigative units.— Daniel S. McDevitt

Other Words from overspecialize

overspecialization \ ˌō-​vər-​ˌspe-​sh(ə-​)lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce overspecialization (audio) \ noun
All cities tend to have their runs of bad economic times for many reasons, ranging from unavoidable hard luck to outright shortsightedness, folly and overspecialization. — Jane Jacobs

First Known Use of overspecialize

1872, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overspecialize

Time Traveler for overspecialize

Time Traveler

The first known use of overspecialize was in 1872

See more words from the same year

Statistics for overspecialize

Cite this Entry

“Overspecialize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overspecialize. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

Comments on overspecialize

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


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!