over·​de·​ter·​mined ˌō-vər-di-ˈtər-mənd How to pronounce overdetermined (audio)
: excessively determined
: having more than one determining psychological factor

Examples of overdetermined in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But that newfound vitality disguised an overdetermined sense of the precarity and vulnerability of childhood. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 Assembly theory, its advocates say, escapes from that kind of overdetermined picture. Philip Ball, Quanta Magazine, 4 May 2023 But in their case, a glamorous romp became an overdetermined narrative, beset by Hollywood excess and mental illness, until what began as a truly, madly adulterous affair ended in pathos, as Leigh, worn down by bipolar disorder, depression and tuberculosis, died in 1967. Matt Damsker, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2022 Its bulbous concrete supports reminded me of towers of Champagne glasses or an overdetermined cake, a showy design that seems to demonstrate form for form’s sake. Eva Hagberg, Curbed, 16 June 2022 The division between the chimpanzees of Nigeria-Cameroon and those of the western Congo region may be one with an overdetermined number of causes. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 4 July 2013 Out of such simple things are the deepest metaphors made, often overdetermined or contradictory, imbued with preternatural power. Ange Mlinko, The New York Review of Books, 1 Dec. 2022 The sequels abound with chattering characters—the Merovingian, the Last Exile, the Analyst—who pile up a Jenga tower of explanations for what’s going on, but whose relationship to the story feels both overdetermined and maddeningly elusive. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, 22 Dec. 2021 Perversely, Rose’s flatness ends up flattening Chuntao, too, making her reactions seem both overdetermined and vague. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 10 Oct. 2021

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

1917, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of overdetermined was in 1917

Dictionary Entries Near overdetermined

Cite this Entry

“Overdetermined.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overdetermined. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


over·​de·​ter·​mined -di-ˈtər-mənd How to pronounce overdetermined (audio)
: having more than one determining psychological factor : affording an outlet for more than a single wish or need
an overdetermined dream symbol
overdetermination noun
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