over·​work | \ ˌō-vər-ˈwərk How to pronounce overwork (audio) \
overworked; overworking; overworks

Definition of overwork

transitive verb

1 : to cause to work too hard, too long, or to exhaustion overworked the horses
2a : to work too much on overwork bread dough
b : to make excessive use of overworked tunes

intransitive verb

: to work too much or too long : overdo

Other Words from overwork

overwork noun

Examples of overwork in a Sentence

The whole crew seemed exhausted, probably from overworking. The captain routinely overworked the crew. He overworks the melody in the song. If you overwork the dough, the bread will be tough.
Recent Examples on the Web Plus, Koleski doesn’t want to overwork them, leaving them worn down for their college season. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 20 July 2022 The Tigers didn't want to overwork Pineda, who made two rehab starts for Triple-A Toledo. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 2 July 2022 If the Dodgers can come out of this without having to seriously overwork their bullpen, everything will be fine. Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2022 Bring the mixture together with a spatula or a pastry scraper, being careful not to overwork it, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 22 May 2020 Women were more likely than me to feel forced to overwork by coworkers and superiors, while men were more likely to feel pressure from society and culture in general. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 19 Apr. 2022 Stir in the flour mixture, taking care not to overwork the batter. Southern Kitchen, USA TODAY, 1 Apr. 2022 Depending on where in the body your ankylosing spondylitis symptoms are most severe, activities that overwork those areas can sometimes lead to a flare in pain and require rest and additional help from your doctor, Dr. Veeravagu says. Colleen Stinchcombe, Health.com, 25 Jan. 2022 When your glutes can't do their job, other muscles in your body have to work harder, which ultimately can overwork them, leading to poor body alignment and aches. SELF, 27 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overwork.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of overwork

1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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The first known use of overwork was in 1530

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Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Overwork.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overwork. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for overwork


over·​work | \ ˌō-vər-ˈwərk How to pronounce overwork (audio) \
overworked; overworking

Kids Definition of overwork

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to work or cause to work too much or too hard The captain overworked the crew.
2 : to use too much or too often overworked phrases



Kids Definition of overwork (Entry 2 of 2)

: too much work They were exhausted from overwork.


transitive verb
over·​work | \ ˌō-vər-ˈwərk How to pronounce overwork (audio) \

Medical Definition of overwork

: to cause to work too hard, too long, or to exhaustion

intransitive verb

: to work too much or too long

Other Words from overwork

overwork noun


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