over·​step | \ ˌō-vər-ˈstep How to pronounce overstep (audio) \
overstepped; overstepping; oversteps

Definition of overstep

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Examples of overstep in a Sentence

the principal overstepped her authority in ordering everyone to remain in the unheated school
Recent Examples on the Web But despite their label, these tools can still overstep the inherent limitations of flesh and bone. Kelsey D. Atherton, Scientific American, "What “Less Lethal” Weapons Actually Do," 23 June 2020 Protesters have taken to the streets in recent days, saying that political leaders, especially governors, have overstepped their authority by closing down the economy and putting American jobs and livelihoods at risk. John Mccormick, WSJ, "Coronavirus Means the Era of Big Government Is…Back," 26 Apr. 2020 Ignorance of the law doesn’t count as a reasonable excuse when boundaries are overstepped. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Red Sox investigation does little to solve video problem," 22 Apr. 2020 There’s already legal debate over whether such actions would overstep the Fourth Amendment’s restrictions on the government’s ability to search private property. Sidney Fussell, Wired, "How Surveillance Could Save Lives Amid a Public Health Crisis," 21 Mar. 2020 Privacy advocates worry the government may be overstepping. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Should the government increase surveillance to help fight the coronavirus?," 18 Mar. 2020 Some refugees feel that unskilled volunteers overstep their roles and try to control refugees, by unnecessarily policing lines at food distribution centers or by encouraging refugees to change aspects of their culture. Mélissa Godin, Time, "Volunteer Tourists Are Still Showing Up at Greek Refugee Camps. Are They Really Helping?," 25 Feb. 2020 The United States has singlehandedly blocked any new appointments, alleging that the body’s members have overstepped WTO rules and draw excessive salaries and perks, among other things. Jamey Keaten, chicagotribune.com, "Europe loses another round in Boeing-Airbus trade battle," 2 Dec. 2019 But the British Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the prime minister had overstepped, and effectively declared Parliament back in session. Mark Landler, New York Times, "Brexit Turmoil Intensifies as Court Rebukes Boris Johnson," 24 Sep. 2019

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

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for overstep

Time Traveler

The first known use of overstep was before the 12th century

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Statistics for overstep

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overstep.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overstep. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for overstep


How to pronounce overstep (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overstep

: to go beyond what is proper or allowed by (something)


over·​step | \ ˌō-vər-ˈstep How to pronounce overstep (audio) \
overstepped; overstepping

Kids Definition of overstep

: to step over or beyond : exceed She overstepped her authority.

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