Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To throw into a confused or disturbed state; upset.
  • intransitive verb To set (type or copy) in excess of what is needed.
  • intransitive verb To set too much type for (a given space).
  • intransitive verb To set too much material for a given space.
  • noun Too much typeset matter.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To set over.
  • To turn over; overturn; capsize.
  • To overthrow; subvert; overturn.
  • To overcome.
  • To overcharge; assess at too high a rate.
  • To be overturned; he upset.
  • Said of composed type that exceeds in amount the space prescribed.
  • Offset; not set in line: said of rivet-holes, partially blind.
  • noun An upsetting; overturn; ruin.
  • noun An excess; superfluity.
  • To compose or set more type than is needed for a prescribed space.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To turn or tip (anything) over from an upright, or a proper, position so that it lies upon its side or bottom upwards; to upset.
  • transitive verb To cause to fall, or to fail; to subvert; to overthrow.
  • transitive verb obsolete To fill too full.
  • intransitive verb To turn, or to be turned, over; to be upset.
  • noun An upsetting; overturn; overthrow.
  • noun obsolete An excess; superfluity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb obsolete To set over (something); to cover.
  • verb obsolete To overwhelm; to overthrow, defeat.
  • verb To physically disturb (someone); to make nauseous, upset.
  • verb To knock over, capsize, overturn.
  • verb To unbalance (a situation, state etc.); to confuse, to put into disarray.
  • verb printing to set (type or copy) in excess of what is needed; to set too much type for a given space.
  • verb transitive To translate.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English oversetten ("to set over, upset"), from Old English ofersettan ("to set over, conquer, overcome"), corresponding to over- +‎ set, from Proto-Germanic *uber (“over”) + *satjanan (“to set”). Compare Dutch overzetten ("to ferry, transport, translate"), German übersetzen ("to cross over, translate").

Examples

  • How "overset" I was all yesterday by the fierce pain I had suffered, and the want of sleep, and worst of all, I think, the chloroform I had/swallowed/, I cannot describe.

    New Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle

  • “Help me,” said the poor fellow, as I drew nigh; but before I could reach the horses, they had turned rapidly round, one of the fore-wheels flew from its axle-tree, the chaise was overset, and the postillion flung violently from his seat upon the field.

    Of phrasebooks, battleship lieutenants and lightning-struck postillions

  • “Help me,” said the poor fellow, as I drew nigh; but before I could reach the horses, they had turned rapidly round, one of the fore-wheels flew from its axle-tree, the chaise was overset, and the postillion flung violently from his seat upon the field.

    16 posts from March 2010

  • A lemon posset was fine on flavour, but slightly overset.

    Jay Rayner's restaurant review

  • “Help me,” said the poor fellow, as I drew nigh; but before I could reach the horses, they had turned rapidly round, one of the fore-wheels flew from its axle-tree, the chaise was overset, and the postillion flung violently from his seat upon the field.

    Of phrasebooks, battleship lieutenants and lightning-struck postillions

  • Shifting around in an effort to help might well overset them all.

    Shameless

  • "She is right, Jason," the Salamander said merrily, making her turn her head so suddenly to look at it that she nearly overset her coffee-cup.

    red dust

  • In my agitation I overset my cup, coffee all over the shop.

    Watershed

  • The only true failure of the night was an overset pannacotta, overlaid with a layer of chocolate mousse so heavy it had its own gravitational pull.

    Restaurant review: Kota

  • Shifting around in an effort to help might well overset them all.

    Shameless

Comments

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  • o⋅ver⋅set  v. oh-ver-set; n. oh-ver-set Show IPA verb, -set, -set⋅ting, noun

    –verb (used with object)

    1. to upset or overturn; overthrow.

    2. to throw into confusion; disorder physically or mentally.

    –verb (used without object)

    3. to become upset, overturned, or overthrown.

    4. Printing.

    a. (of type or copy) to set in or to excess.

    b. (of space) to set too much type for.

    –noun

    5. the act or fact of oversetting; upset; overturn.

    6. Also called overmatter. Printing. matter set up in excess of space.

    Origin:

    July 16, 2009