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over·​use ˌō-vər-ˈyüz How to pronounce overuse (audio)
overused; overusing

transitive verb

: to use (something) too much : to use (something) excessively or too frequently
a word that has been greatly overused
At best, gatekeepers can keep everyone from overusing costly high-tech treatments when primary care is enough.Marilyn Chase


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over·​use ˌō-vər-ˈyüs How to pronounce overuse (audio)
: too much use : excessive or too frequent use
the overuse of antibiotics
athletes suffering from overuse injuries
His overuse of four-letter words—often a dozen per page—may accurately mirror a macho world where cussing is cool, but it is tedious to read.Frederick Kaufman

Examples of overuse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Using too much pressure can damage skin, while overusing the extractor can actually backfire, stripping skin and kicking oil production into overdrive. Macaela MacKenzie, Glamour, 15 Feb. 2024 Risk factors that make chronic migraines more likely include obesity, overusing medications, asthma, and poor sleep habits, Dr. Cowan says. Colleen Stinchcombe, Health, 17 Jan. 2024 These terms have specific meanings that are legitimately useful for helping people make choices about their food, but they have been overused into oblivion. Yasmin Tayag, The Atlantic, 8 Jan. 2024 Not all tasting menus require extensive narration; if anything, narrative is overused in fancy restaurants, weighing down otherwise nimble culinary exercises with talk, talk, talk. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, 24 Dec. 2023 Four years ago, researchers warned the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that some doctors were overusing — potentially even abusing — invasive vascular procedures, increasing patients’ chances of complications, which include amputation or even death. Annie Waldman, ProPublica, 12 Dec. 2023 The yodel was a part of the mix, but never overused. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 28 Nov. 2023 But even if the United States does not overuse its underground empire or provoke hot conflict, there is still a major reason to worry about Washington’s dramatic economic and data power: the United States will not always be in the right. Paul Krugman, Foreign Affairs, 6 Dec. 2023 When overused, the drug can have serious side effects, including mania, delirium and even psychosis, according to psychiatrists. John Carreyrou, New York Times, 22 Nov. 2023
With overuse of drugs or overexposure to pleasure-producing stimuli, the reward circuitry in the brain adapts and becomes less sensitive to dopamine. Amiah Taylor, Discover Magazine, 15 Feb. 2024 Otitis externa, an infection of the external ear canal, is common with overuse of headphones. Shannon Ullman, Verywell Health, 9 Jan. 2024 But China’s Ministry of Health put a stop to the research in 2004, amid questions about the procedure’s safety, long-term outcomes and possible overuse. Jyoti Madhusoodanan, Smithsonian Magazine, 31 Jan. 2024 As is the case of antibiotics and bacterial infections, overuse of antifungals can drive the development of resistance. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 16 Jan. 2024 Sheer overuse has started to sap the marketing power of craveability, said Mike Kostyo, a vice president of the food industry consulting company Menu Matters, whose clients include brands like Dunkin’ and Del Monte Foods. Kim Severson, New York Times, 16 Jan. 2024 The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms — which constitutes 80 percent of all antibiotic use in the United States — is contributing to this growing threat. Anagha Babu, Hartford Courant, 15 Jan. 2024 According to the American Liver Foundation, the best ways to manage fatty liver disease are to lose weight, control one’s blood sugar and cholesterol, and to protect the liver by avoiding alcohol and overuse of medications. Stephanie Brown, Verywell Health, 13 Dec. 2023 Makary leads Global Appropriateness Measures, a consortium of physicians who use clinical wisdom and health care data to detect outlier patterns and discourage overuse. Annie Waldman, ProPublica, 12 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overuse.' 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


1607, in the meaning defined above


1612, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of overuse was in 1607

Dictionary Entries Near overuse

Cite this Entry

“Overuse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overuse. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to use too much
an overused phrase


2 of 2 noun
: too much use

More from Merriam-Webster on overuse

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