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Etymology 1[edit]

over- +‎ head


overhead (comparative more overhead, superlative most overhead)

  1. located above, especially over the head
    Place your luggage in the overhead bins.
  2. (soccer) kicked over one's own head
    • 2011 February 12, Phil McNulty, “Man Utd 2 - 1 Man City”, in BBC[1]:
      It was Rooney, however, who produced a moment of inspiration to score a stunning overhead kick that will live forever in the memory of United's fans and extended City's dismal sequence of only one league win in their last 27 visits to Old Trafford.


overhead (countable and uncountable, plural overheads)

  1. (uncountable, business, accounting) The expense of a business not directly assigned to goods or services provided.
  2. (countable, business, accounting) The items or classes of expense not directly assigned to goods or services provided.
  3. (uncountable) Any cost or expenditure (monetary, time, effort or otherwise) incurred in a project or activity, which does not directly contribute to the progress or outcome of the project or activity.
  4. (uncountable, business) Wasted money.
  5. (tennis) A smash.
  6. (nautical) The ceiling of any enclosed space below decks in a vessel.
  7. (transport) The system of overhead wires used to power electric transport, such as streetcars, trains, or buses.
  8. (computing) Data or steps of computation that is only used to facilitate the computations in the system and is not directly related to the actual program code or data being processed.
    Network overhead is the header data that is required to route and transport data over network, whereas fork overhead is the additional time and memory cost of creating and managing new processes within operating system.
  9. (juggling, by ellipsis) An overhead throw.
Derived terms[edit]


overhead (comparative more overhead, superlative most overhead)

  1. Above one's head; in the sky.
    birds flying overhead
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      Now we plunged into a deep shade with the boughs lacing each other overhead, and crossed dainty, rustic bridges over the cold trout-streams, the boards giving back the clatter of our horses' feet: or anon we shot into a clearing, with a colored glimpse of the lake and its curving shore far below us.

Etymology 2[edit]

(Sense 1) Abbreviation of overhead projector.
(Sense 2) Back-formation from overhead projector.


overhead (plural overheads)

  1. (countable) An overhead projector.
  2. (countable) A sheet of transparent material with an image used with an overhead projector; an overhead transparency.