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

Definition of overstep

Keep scrolling for more

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

The letter asserts that California is overstepping its authority under the Clean Air Act, which allows it to write statewide air pollution rules, by attempting to set fuel economy standards and to influence regulations nationwide. New York Times, "Justice Dept. Investigates California Emissions Pact That Embarrassed Trump," 6 Sep. 2019 Yale-Loehr said legal challenges to the rule are likely to question whether the agency overstepped its authority to change immigration rules and policies without going through Congress. Elvia Malagón, chicagotribune.com, "Illinois sues over new rule that could deny green cards to those on public aid: ‘It’s another attempt ... to intimidate immigrants’," 15 Aug. 2019 The lawyers contended Polster has overstepped his authority and created the appearance of bias. Anchorage Daily News, "Drug companies seek removal of judge in landmark opioid case," 14 Sep. 2019 In other words, argue for your rights, but don’t overstep the bounds of good taste and decorum. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Justice Gorsuch calls for ‘civility,’ always a code for shutting down free speech," 13 Sep. 2019 Tom Ryan, a lawyer who represented the whistleblower who complained that Horne inappropriately used official resources, said Grisham overstepped the boundaries separating official and campaign duties while working for Horne. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Stephanie Grisham, new White House press secretary, had controversial Arizona career," 25 June 2019 The Trump administration says the Obama administration overstepped its legal authority in approving the Clean Power Plan. Washington Post, "The Latest: EPA chief eases rules on coal-fired power plants," 19 June 2019 Supporters of the revised rule, like Mulvaney, say the Obama-era plan overstepped the EPA's authority. CBS News, "EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler moves to roll back coal-fired power plant rules," 19 June 2019 Indeed, a lawsuit claiming that the bank’s quantitative-easing scheme overstepped its legal mandate is making its way through Germany’s constitutional court. The Economist, "Germany debates banning negative interest rates," 29 Aug. 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.

See More

First Known Use of overstep

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overstep

Statistics for overstep

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overstep

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for overstep



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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on overstep

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overstep

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overstep

Spanish Central: Translation of overstep

Nglish: Translation of overstep for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overstep for Arabic Speakers

Comments on overstep

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


to be made up of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

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!