over·​wrought ˌō-vər-ˈrȯt How to pronounce overwrought (audio)
: extremely excited : agitated
: elaborated to excess : overdone

Examples of overwrought in a Sentence

The witness became overwrought as she described the crime. became overwrought when she heard that her child was missing
Recent Examples on the Web Castro’s government dismisses U.S. concerns as overwrought and patronizing. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, 2 Oct. 2023 But in the end, this is still a stereotypical superhero comic story, with all the hackneyed, overwrought presentation that can imply. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 17 Oct. 2023 Critics have sometimes dismissed his work as overwrought. Michael Paulson, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2023 Here and elsewhere, Patel’s prose is bloated and overwrought; one sometimes gets the impression that we’re expected to applaud her for merely having made a comparison, not for what that comparison reveals. Cat Zhang, Washington Post, 1 Sep. 2023 As a visual artist, Nolan can be compelling and immersive, as in the Los Alamos scenes, or overwrought, as in a few fantastical sequences that resemble jumbo planetarium light shows. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 July 2023 The stories of her trips are overwrought in the way that such tales about mid-life spiritual awakenings sometimes can be. Trish Deitch, Variety, 28 Sep. 2023 Donna Brazile, a former Democratic Party chair, insisted that reports of hand wringing are overwrought. Peter Baker, New York Times, 15 Sep. 2023 Under such breathless pacing, the nastiness begins to feel less harrowing than absurdly overwrought, until even its ostentatiously ugly ending fails to rouse much feeling in any direction. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


past participle of overwork

First Known Use

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of overwrought was in 1638

Dictionary Entries Near overwrought

Cite this Entry

“Overwrought.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overwrought. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


over·​wrought ˌō-və(r)-ˈrȯt How to pronounce overwrought (audio)
: extremely excited : agitated
overwrought feelings
: decorated too much : overdone

More from Merriam-Webster on overwrought

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