over·​wrought | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrȯt How to pronounce overwrought (audio) , ˌō-və- \

Definition of overwrought

1 : extremely excited : agitated
2 : elaborated to excess : overdone

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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 And then there’s the singing, which embraces an explicit theatricality, somehow low-affect and overwrought at once, to bring the listener inside the narrator’s experience. Los Angeles Times, "How did ‘Drivers License’ become the song of 2021? By exulting in the power of teen-girl melodrama," 24 Feb. 2021 After years when Acuras tended to look like either gussied up Hondas or overwrought attempts to stand out — who else remembers the brand-wide nose job that looked like a baby bird’s egg tooth? Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Acura's sleek and sporty 2022 MDX gets luxury brand's SUV back on track," 28 Jan. 2021 Here the book, which mostly rejects the linear form for more organic storytelling, buckles under the weight of the dramatic and overwrought. Star Tribune, "Review: 'Aftershocks: A Memoir,' by Nadia Owusu," 15 Jan. 2021 With a sculptural hat, peplum, and flared pants all competing for attention, Lee’s outfit could have been overwrought. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "This Week, the Best Dressed Stars Set the Tone for 2021," 4 Jan. 2021 Their school experience is defined not by absolute authority figures in the classroom but by overwrought teachers trying to handle the demands of virtual instruction. James Carroll, The New Yorker, "What the Era of Trump and the Coronavirus May Teach America’s Children," 21 Dec. 2020 At times, though, the Agnew-as-Trump analogy is overwrought. Washington Post, "Vice President Agnew’s misdeeds, and the challenges of holding him accountable," 18 Dec. 2020 Albeit more stately, the pitch of overwrought hysteria that Schroeter achieves is unmatched by any director save the Polish wild man Andrzej Żuławski. J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books, "Fall Films to Stream," 5 Nov. 2020 People have been discussing the politics of blue-haired women specifically in the Reddit manosphere since at least 2015, but most satirical renditions of overwrought SJWs used to have fire engine red hair. Emma Grey Ellis, Wired, "My Life as a Blue-Haired 'Commie Bitch' in Portland," 3 Nov. 2020

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

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First Known Use of overwrought

1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for overwrought

past participle of overwork

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Time Traveler for overwrought

Time Traveler

The first known use of overwrought was in 1638

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Statistics for overwrought

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overwrought.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overwrought. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for overwrought



English Language Learners Definition of overwrought

: very excited or upset


over·​wrought | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrȯt How to pronounce overwrought (audio) \

Kids Definition of overwrought

: very excited or upset

More from Merriam-Webster on overwrought

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overwrought

Nglish: Translation of overwrought for Spanish Speakers

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