verb (used with object)
- to reach or extend over or beyond: The shelf overreached the nook and had to be planed down.
- to go beyond, as a thing aimed at or sought: an arrow that had overreached the target.
- to stretch to excess, as by a straining effort: to overreach one’s arm and strain a muscle.
- to defeat (oneself) by overdoing matters, often by excessive eagerness or cunning: In trying to promote disunity he had overreached himself.
- to strain or exert (oneself or itself) to the point of exceeding the purpose.
- to get the better of, especially by deceit or trickery; outwit: Every time you deal with them you wonder if they’re overreaching you.
- to overtake.
- Obsolete. to overpower.
verb (used without object)
- to reach or extend over something.
- to reach too far: In grabbing for the rope he overreached and fell.
- to cheat others.
- (of a running or walking horse) to strike, or strike and injure, the forefoot with the hind foot.
- Nautical. to sail on a tack longer than is desirable or was intended; overstand.
- (tr) to defeat or thwart (oneself) by attempting to do or gain too much
- (tr) to aim for but miss by going too far or attempting too much
- to get the better of (a person) by trickery
- (tr) to reach or extend beyond or over
- (intr) to reach or go too far
- (intr) (of a horse) to strike the back of a forefoot with the edge of the opposite hind foot
v.c.1300, “to reach above or beyond” (transitive), from over- + reach (v.). Meaning “to extend over something, to cover it” is from c.1400. Sense of “to reach beyond one’s strength” is from 1560s. As a noun from 1550s. Related: Overreached; overreaching.