overweening was our Word of the Day on 02/15/2015. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of overweening in a Sentence
a director who has little patience for overweening actors who think they are above taking advice and criticism
overweening desire for wealth and fame
Recent Examples of overweening from the Web
The country is subject to constant cycles of political instability and the overweening influence of a forever-meddling military.
Critics of the regime in Tehran say the exercise is hardly democratic, given the overweening power of the country's theocratic supreme leader and its influential military institutions like the Revolutionary Guard.
There’s no serious likelihood that the behavior of these global behemoths will be crimped by these scoldings from some overweening Senate committee.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overweening.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The overweening conceit which the greater part of men have of their own abilities is an ancient evil remarked by the philosophers and moralists of all ages. So wrote Adam Smith in his The Wealth of Nations. But while overweening conceit might be an age-old evil, the word overweening has only been part of English since the 14th century. It developed from the Middle English overwening, the present participle of the verb overwenen, which meant "to be arrogant." That term derived in turn from wenen, which meant "to think" or "to imagine." Today, the adjective overweening is the most widely used of the wenen descendants, but historical texts also occasionally include overween, a term for thinking too highly of your own opinion.
Origin and Etymology of overweening
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonymsassured, biggety (or biggity) [Southern & Midland], bigheaded, complacent, consequential, egoistic (also egoistical), egotistic (or egotistical), important, conceited, pompous, prideful, proud, self-conceited, self-important, self-opinionated, self-satisfied, smug, stuck-up, swellheaded, vain, vainglorious
Antonymsegoless, humble, modest, uncomplacent
Related Wordsblusterous, blustery, boastful, bombastic, braggart, bragging, braggy, cocky, swaggering; arrogant, assumptive, bumptious, cavalier, chesty, disdainful, fastuous, haughty, high-and-mighty, high-hat, huffy, lofty, lordly, masterful, peremptory, pontifical, self-asserting, self-assertive, snobbish, snobby, snooty, supercilious, superior, toplofty (also toploftical), uppish, uppity; domineering, high-handed, imperious; highfalutin (also hifalutin), holier-than-thou, pretentious; overconfident, presuming, presumptuous; confident, self-assured, self-confident; self-adulatory, self-congratulatory, self-contented, self-gratulatory; self-applauding, self-dramatizing, self-glorifying, self-promoting; self-affected, self-centered, self-engrossed, selfish; condescending, patronizing
Near Antonymsdiffident, self-critical, self-distrustful, self-doubting, self-reproachful, self-reproving; meek, timid, unassertive; down-to-earth, unarrogant, unassuming, unpretentious; bashful, demure, introverted, mousy (or mousey), overmodest, retiring, sheepish, shrinking, shy
OVERWEENING Defined for English Language Learners
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