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Alternative forms[edit]


Inherited from Middle English overnyght, from Old English ofer niht (through the night, overnight), equivalent to over +‎ night.


  • IPA(key): /əʊvə(ɹ)ˈnaɪt/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪt


overnight (not comparable)

  1. During or throughout the night, especially during the evening or night just past.
    Let it run overnight and we'll check on it in the morning.
    They delivered the package overnight.
    • 1677, N. Ingelo, A Discourse Concerning Repentance, London, page 36:
      I have heard of a man, who having been drunk overnight, and passed over a very narrow Bridge, which no sober Horseman durst attempt, being brought the next day to see what danger he went through, fell down in a swoon upon the sight of it.
    • 1765 February, “The Art of Guilding”, in The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, volume 36, London: John Hinton, page 81:
      [] then put the glass into a damp cellar, on sand, and the gold will overnight shoot into crystals, which take out, and let them dissolve again in distilled vinegar [].
    • 1977, Agatha Christie, chapter 4, in An Autobiography, part II, London: Collins, →ISBN:
      There was also hairdressing: hairdressing, too, really was hairdressing in those times — no running a comb through it and that was that. It was curled, frizzed, waved, put in curlers overnight, waved with hot tongs; [].
    • 2012 November 20, Nina Bernstein, “Storm Bared a Lack of Options for the Homeless in New York”, in New York Times:
      Overnight, as the storm bore down on urban flood zones, city officials ramped up emergency spaces to shelter thousands more people, mostly in public schools and colleges.
  2. (figuratively) In a very short (but unspecified) amount of time.
    The change seemed to happen overnight.
    • 2012, Christoper Zara, Tortured Artists: From Picasso and Monroe to Warhol and Winehouse, the Twisted Secrets of the World's Most Creative Minds, part 1, chapter 1, 27:
      Overnight, the vivacious young actress became a caricature, a relic of the previous decade, whose hard-partying socialite image seemed frivolous and out of touch amid the ensuing years of the Great Depression.
    • 2021 December 29, Paul Stephen, “Rail's accident investigators”, in RAIL, number 947, page 32:
      "You can't overnight turn everyone into an expert on everything. [...]."



overnight (not comparable)

  1. Occurring between dusk and dawn.
    The overnight ferry docked at 10 a.m.
  2. Complete before the next morning.
    Don't expect overnight delivery.
    • 1988 August 22, Julie Webber, “The Fastest Data Delivery: Three Services Provide Quick Information”, in Info World, volume 10, number 34, page S10:
      Federal Express handled 225 million overnight and second-day packages, cornering a 50-percent share of the entire domestic overnight market [].
    • 2018 March 20, Jessica Merchant, The Pretty Dish: More than 150 Everyday Recipes and 50 Beauty DIYs to Nourish Your Body Inside and Out, Rodale, →ISBN, page 4:
      I like cold overnight oats eaten straight from the fridge.
  3. Of an activity or event in which participants stay overnight.
    They sent their kids to overnight camp.
    We went on an overnight ski trip.
    • 2000 November, National Park Service, Final Yosemite Valley Plan: Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, volume 1A, page 3-154:
      Overnight visitation in the park is controlled by the National Park Service and limited by the availability of lodging and camping facilities.



overnight (third-person singular simple present overnights, present participle overnighting, simple past and past participle overnighted)

  1. (intransitive) To stay overnight; to spend the night. [from 19th c.]
    • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 128:
      His visits to Paris (which he had not allowed his son to visit until he was a teenager) became less frequent too: he never over-nighted there, for example, after 1744.
  2. (transitive, US) To send something for delivery the next day. [from 20th c.]
    We can overnight you the documents for signature.



overnight (plural overnights)

  1. Items delivered or completed overnight.
    Have you looked at the overnights yet?
  2. An overnight stay, especially in a hotel or other lodging facility.
    • Vault Career Guide to Journalism and Information Media (page 70)
      Some will also have to work less coveted schedules like overnights and weekends just to start building their career and demo tape.
  3. (television, in the plural) Viewership ratings for a television show that are published the morning after it is broadcast, and may be revised later on.
    • 2000, Dorothy C. Swanson, Story of Viewers For Quality TV: From Grassroots to Prime Time
      Word spread that Barney was on his way out to the location and that the Nielsen overnights had been terrific, or why else would he come.
    • 2006, A. D. Brown, News-Daze (page 3)
      The TV critic had the results of the June rating survey by Arbitron and Nielsen. [] He has the hard numbers on the June book plus the recent Nielsen overnights.
  4. (obsolete) The fore part of the previous night; yesterday evening.