- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌəʊvəˈduː/
Audio (Southern England) (file)
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˌoʊvɚˈdu/
- Homophone: overdue (US, some dialects)
- Rhymes: -uː
- Hyphenation: over‧do
- To do too much; to exceed what is proper or true in doing; to carry too far.
- Synonym: exaggerate
- I overdid the sweets during the holidays and put on some weight.
- c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
- […] o’erstep not the modesty of nature: for anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end […] is to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature;
- 1636 (first performance; published 1655), Philip Massinger, “The Bashful Lover”, in W[illiam] Gifford, editor, The Plays of Philip Massinger, […], volume IV, London: […] G[eorge] and W[illiam] Nicol; […] by W[illiam] Bulmer and Co. […], published 1805, →OCLC, Act I, scene i, page 351:
- [B]elieve me, / That servant overdoes, that’s too officious; / And in presuming to direct your master, / You argue him of weakness, and your self / Of arrogance and impertinence.
- 1776 March 9, Adam Smith, chapter 5, in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. […], volume I, London: […] W[illiam] Strahan; and T[homas] Cadell, […], →OCLC, book I (Of the Causes of Improvement in the Productive Powers of Labour, […]), page 54:
- The merchant importers […] endeavour, as well as they can, to suit their occasional importations to what, they judge, is likely to be the immediate demand. With all their attention, however, they sometimes over-do the business, and sometimes under-do it.
- 1868, Louisa M[ay] Alcott, chapter 16, in Little Women: […], part first, Boston, Mass.: Roberts Brothers, published 1869, →OCLC, page 247:
- Jo helps me with the sewing, and insists on doing all sorts of hard jobs. I should be afraid she might overdo, if I didn’t know her ‘moral fit’ wouldn’t last long.
- To cook for too long.
- 1851 November 14, Herman Melville, chapter 64, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, →OCLC, page 332:
- Well, for the future, when you cook another whale-steak for my private table here, the capstan, I’ll tell you what to do so as not to spoil it by overdoing. Hold the steak in one hand, and show a live coal to it with the other; that done, dish it; d’ye hear?
- To give (someone or something) too much work; to require too much effort or strength of (someone); to use up too much of (something).
- 1620, Fra[ncis] Quarles, “Sect[ion] 2”, in A Feast for Wormes. Set Forth in a Poeme of the History of Ionah, London: […] Felix Kyngston, for Richard Moore, […], →OCLC, signature D2, recto:
- Good God! hovv poore a thing is vvretched man? / So fraile, that let him ſtriue the beſt he can, / VVith euery little blaſt hee’s ouerdon.
- 1799, Hannah More, chapter 16, in Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education, volume 2, London: T. Cadell Jun. and W. Davies, page 156:
- […] look abroad and see who are the people that complain of weariness, listlessness, and dejection? You will not find them among such as are overdone with work, but with pleasure.
- (obsolete) To do more than (someone); to do (something) to a greater extent.
- 1629, Cristóbal de Fonseca, translated by James Mabbe, Deuout Contemplations, London: Adam Islip, Sermon 2, page 36:
- In a delicate Garden, where Art hath shewed it’s vtmost, yee shall meet with Roses, Gillyflowers, and Fountaines of Alabaster and Iasper; but thou wilt not so much admire this, as if thou shouldst light on these dainties in a Desert, or in some craggie Mountain, where the hand of nature shall ouerdoe that of art and Industrie.
- 1709, Aaron Hill, chapter 4, in A Full and Just Account of the Present State of the Ottoman Empire, London: for the author, page 28:
- the Turks delight but little in the outward Ornament of Houses, nor aspire in the least to overdo each other in the Europaean Custom of Polite and Solid Architecture, yet do they far more exceed us in the rich Ornaments and Contrivances of their Pavilions,
Until the 19th century, overdo was often used intransitively (without a direct object), but this usage is rare in contemporary English, and has been replaced by the phrase overdo it, “to do something too much, in an exaggerated way, or in a way that makes one too tired or endangers one's health:”
- I think you’ve overdone it on the food for this evening—there’s enough here to feed an army!
- I wanted to have all the weeding done today, but I overdid it and now I’m too tired to go out.
- “overdo”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “overdo”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.