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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English overdriven, from Old English oferdrīfan, equivalent to over- +‎ drive. Cognate with Saterland Frisian uurdrieuwe (to overdo, overstate), Dutch overdrijven (to exaggerate), German Low German overdrieven, överdrieven (to overdo, exaggerate), German übertreiben (to overdo, exaggerate), Norwegian overdrive (to exaggerate).


overdrive (third-person singular simple present overdrives, present participle overdriving, simple past overdrove, past participle overdriven)

  1. (transitive) To drive too hard, or far, or beyond strength.

Etymology 2[edit]

From over- +‎ drive From the gear over "D" (drive) in an automatic transmission vehicle.


overdrive (plural overdrives)

  1. (dated) A gear, on an automobile, higher than the normal top gear.
    • 2018 October 22, Popular Mechanics‎, volume 156, number 4, page 201:
      Cruising in overdrive at legal highway speed keeps rpm right at 1800, depending on rear-axle ratio.
  2. A state of heightened activity.
    • 2000, Salman Rushdie, The ground beneath her feet, page 78:
      It is true, though it's got nothing to do with me, that the building boom that created the Bombay of my childhood went into overdrive in the years before my birth


Coordinate terms[edit]
  • 4th gear (in an automatic transmission vehicle)
  • 5th gear (in a manual transmission vehicle)
Derived terms[edit]

See also[edit]

Norwegian Bokmål[edit]


over- +‎ drive; after German übertreiben


overdrive (imperative overdriv, present tense overdriver, simple past overdrev or overdreiv, past participle overdrevet, present participle overdrivende)

  1. to exaggerate (overstate, to describe more than is fact)

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


Norwegian Nynorsk[edit]



  1. neuter of overdriven