verb (used with object)
- to cause to work too hard, too much, or too long; weary or exhaust with work (often used reflexively): Don’t overwork yourself on that new job.
- to work up, stir up, or excite excessively: to overwork a mob to the verge of frenzy.
- to employ or elaborate to excess: an appeal for sympathy that has been overworked by many speakers.
- to work or decorate all over; decorate the surface of: white limestone overworked with inscriptions.
verb (used without object)
- to work too hard, too much, or too long; work to excess: You look as though you’ve been overworking.
- work beyond one’s strength or capacity.
- extra or excessive work.
verb (ˌəʊvəˈwɜːk) (mainly tr)
- (also intr) to work or cause to work too hard or too long
- to use too muchto overwork an excuse
- to decorate the surface of
- to work up
- excessive or excessively tiring work
v.“to cause to work too hard,” 1520s, from over- + work (v.). Old English oferwyrcan meant “to work all over,” i.e. “to decorate the whole surface of.” Related: Overworked; overworking. n.“work beyond a person’s strength,” 1819; see overwork (v.). Old English oferweorc meant “a superstructure, sarcophagus, tomb.”