over·​strain ˌō-vər-ˈstrān How to pronounce overstrain (audio)
overstrained; overstraining

transitive verb

: to strain (someone or something) beyond a maximum tolerable limit
overstrained herself on the treadmill
overstrain a muscle
overstrained the steel, which developed a crack
He said every nerve had been overstrained in some way, and the whole system must sleep torpid a while.Charlotte Brontë
… officials said the aid would be focused only on its banking sector … That would be crucial to avoid overstraining the eurozone's rescue funds …Luke Baker and Annika Breidthardt
She doesn't overstrain the metaphor …Mark O'Connell
overstrain noun
muscles suffering from overstrain

Examples of overstrain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The film lingers because of the cumulative power of its images; the delicacy with which suffering is conveyed without overstraining for the truth. Hazlitt, 27 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overstrain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1578, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overstrain was in 1578

Dictionary Entries Near overstrain

Cite this Entry

“Overstrain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overstrain. Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

Medical Definition


over·​strain -ˈstrān How to pronounce overstrain (audio)
: excessive mental or physical strain
also : a condition resulting from this
overstrain verb
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