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From Middle English overheten, equivalent to over- +‎ heat. Cognate with German überheizen, überhitzen (to overheat), Swedish överhetta (to overheat).



overheat (third-person singular simple present overheats, present participle overheating, simple past and past participle overheated)

  1. (transitive) To heat excessively.
    • 1934, Agatha Christie, chapter 8, in Murder on the Orient Express, London: HarperCollins, published 2017, page 131:
      'Made one quite thankful to get back to the fug, though as a rule I think the way these trains are overheated is something scandalous'.
  2. (intransitive) To become excessively hot.
  3. (economics) To grow too quickly in an uncontrolled way.
    • 2011 July 18, John Cassidy, “Mastering the Machine”, in The New Yorker[1], →ISSN:
      Dalio said that the Chinese economy was in danger of overheating, and somebody asked how a Chinese slowdown would affect the price of oil and other commodities.

Derived terms[edit]


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overheat (plural overheats)

  1. A condition of being overheated.
    • 2002, Earl Rogers, Captain, page 245:
      Continued operation with an overheat could lead to other serious problems, perhaps even a fire.