American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Excessively nervous or excited; agitated.
- adj. Extremely elaborate or ornate; overdone: overwrought prose style.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Worked too hard or too much.
- Worked up or excited to excess; overexcited: as overwrought feelings, imagination, etc.
- Worked all over; covered with decorative work: as, a garment overwrought with embroidered flowers.
- Labored or elaborated to excess; overdone.
- adj. in a state of excessive nervousness, excitement, or anger; Extremely tense, anxious, or upset; filled with emotion, emotional; uneasy.
- adj. elaborate; overdone.
GNU Webster's 1913
- Wrought upon excessively; overworked.
- Extremely agitated or excited; overexcited; -- of people.
- adj. deeply agitated especially from emotion
- past participle of overwork (Wiktionary)
“Best of all, she's got a playful sensibility that keeps the covers from getting bogged down in overwrought gravitas, no matter the subject.”
“That last label is the funniest of the three because a story about a notorious miser visited by four ghosts who scare the hell out of him to make him change his life is by definition overwrought.”
“Tademy's bold, controlled account of these horrific events never shies away from the gruesome facts, or becomes overwrought, which is a remarkable feat considering her emotional attachment to the story and its characters.”
“I would be so excited about my latest acquisition that I would start to read in the car a habit that always triggered my motion sickness, but I didn't care, and then, the second I got home, sign my name in overwrought cursive on the inside cover.”
“This is the kind of overwrought, underreported business story I expect to see in Fortune magazine, not my local business journal.”
“Not sure how that became "overwrought" in your mind, but maybe we've misunderstood each other.”
“Opera Tattler finds the characters caricatures and the production "overwrought," with the music unfocussed and too much in the background.”
“Pleased to see that I was at "overwrought" before J. Hoberman got there.”
“And insofar as we might say that the poetry of emotion is synonymous with its expression in language, then it becomes clear that writing from a place of the 'overwrought', the 'cheap', the 'excessive', the 'insufficient' and the 'incapable' is actually also writing from a place of abjection women writers are consigned to in a kind of categorical quarantine.”
“On the day it ran, Executive Editor Bill Keller, not exactly chastened, called criticism of the Times' coverage "overwrought" and said that the main reason it even published the note was because the controversy had become a "distraction.”
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