from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To force to work too hard or too long.
  • transitive v. To rework to excess: overwork a speech.
  • transitive v. To use too often: "'Vulnerable' and 'volatile' were the most overworked adjectives of the '70s” ( David Ansen).
  • transitive v. To decorate the entire surface of.
  • intransitive v. To work too long or too hard.
  • n. Excessive work.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. excessive work
  • v. To make (someone) work too hard.
  • v. To work too hard.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Work in excess of the usual or stipulated time or quantity; extra work; also, excessive labor.
  • intransitive v. To work too much, or beyond one's strength.
  • transitive v. To work beyond the strength; to cause to labor too much or too long; to tire excessively.
  • transitive v. To fill too full of work; to crowd with labor.
  • transitive v. To decorate all over.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cause to work too hard; cause to labor too much; impose too much work upon; wear out by overwork: often used reflexively.
  • n. A superstructure.
  • n. Excessive work or labor; work or labor that exceeds the strength or capacity of the individual or endangers his health.
  • n. Work done beyond the amount stipulated; work done in overhours or overtime.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. work excessively hard
  • n. the act of working too much or too long
  • v. use too much


over- + work (verb) (Wiktionary)
over- + work (noun) (Wiktionary)


  • According to information, because of long-term overwork, vice mayor Wang Lijun is highly stressed and in poor health.

    China's anti-gang police chief placed on 'stress leave'

  • Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever.

    Animal Farm

  • It’s also likely false, as overwork is a regular problem for TAs.

    Yet Another Strike at York University (and Osgoode Hall)? : Law is Cool

  • Dave lies in the fern a good part of every day smoking and planning, but as his wife is satisfied that his dream is one of love for her, she is content: besides, she wishes him to rest, being careful of his health and in constant terror lest he may fall a victim to cerebral disease from overwork, which is so common an ailment in the North.

    Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 22, September, 1878

  • Honest labor, continued through reasonable hours, paid at a rate which assures a wholesome support, is ennobling; but overwork, that is hopeless of comfortable reward, is degrading in the extreme.

    White Slaves; or, the Oppression of the Worthy Poor

  • It is not work, but overwork, that is hurtful; and it is not hard work that is injurious so much as monotonous work, fagging work, hopeless work.


  • Kim Jong Il, who passed away Saturday from an apparent heart attack at the age of 69 - the official cause was "overwork" - was an old-school dictator, predictably unpredictable.

    Washington Post: Breaking News, World, US, DC News & Analysis

  • On 14 July, another 52-year-old employee killed himself in Marseille, leaving behind a note blaming "overwork" and "management by terror".

    Nick Mamatas' Journal

  • In my opinion, this is n unavoidable side-effect of today's "overwork" generation, where there's just so much to do that you can't get it all done.

    Just Showing up

  • Neurasthenia is a condition of nervous exhaustion, brought about by various causes, such as overwork, worry, fright, sexual excesses, sexual abstinence, and so on.

    Woman Her Sex and Love Life

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