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From Middle English overliven, from Old English oferlibban (to survive), equivalent to over- +‎ live. Cognate with Dutch overleven (to survive), German überleben (to survive, outlive), Swedish överleva (to survive, outlive, outlast).


overlive (third-person singular simple present overlives, present participle overliving, simple past and past participle overlived)

  1. (transitive) To survive.
  2. (transitive) To outlive; live longer than.
    • 1624, John Donne, "Meditation VII":
      [M]y disease cannot survive me, I may overlive it.
    • 1891, Charlotte M. Yonge, Unknown to History: A Story of the Captivity of Mary of Scotland, ch. 31:
      "Her Majesty's life will never be safe for a moment while she lives; and what would become of us all did she overlive the Queen!"
  3. (intransitive) To live too long.
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost:
      Why do I overlive?
      Why am I mocked with death, and lengthened out
      to deathless pain?
  4. (intransitive) To live too fast, too luxuriously, or too actively.


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for overlive in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)