Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English oversetten (to set over, upset), from Old English ofersettan (to set over, conquer, overcome), equivalent to over- +‎ set, from Proto-Germanic *uber (over) + *satjaną (to set). Compare Dutch overzetten (to ferry, transport, translate), German übersetzen (to cross over, translate).



overset (third-person singular simple present oversets, present participle oversetting, simple past and past participle overset)

  1. (obsolete) To set over (something); to cover.
  2. (intransitive) To turn, or to be turned, over; to be upset.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Mortimer to this entry?)
  3. (obsolete) To overwhelm; to overthrow, defeat.
  4. To physically disturb (someone); to make nauseous, upset.
  5. To knock over, capsize, overturn.
    • 1819, Lord Byron, Don Juan, II.104:
      A reef between them also now began / To show its boiling surf and bounding spray, / But finding no place for their landing better, / They ran the boat for shore,—and overset her.
  6. (now rare) To unbalance (a situation, state etc.); to confuse, to put into disarray.
    • 1843, Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, book 3, chapter XIII, Democracy
      Thus has the Tailor-art, so to speak, overset itself, like most other things; changed its centre-of-gravity; whirled suddenly over from zenith to nadir.
    • 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial 2007, p. 152:
      ‘So this is the creature who oversets the household and suborns servants and clergymen,’ d'Anton said.
  7. (printing) to set (type or copy) in excess of what is needed; to set too much type for a given space.
  8. (transitive) To translate.
    • 1879, The Saturday magazine - Volume 1 - Page 87:
      Overset into English, after the spirits and measures of the anthentical; by Dr. Heinrich Krauss, Ph.D., and so wider.
    • 1910, Leonard Bacon, Joseph Parrish Thompson, Henry Ward Beecher, The Independent - Volume 69 - Page 1220:
      They should be overset into English so as to reach a wider public here, for even his elementary descriptions of American universities, would not be so superfluous to any of us as we think, [...]
    • 2006, John David Pizer, The idea of world literature:
      The thought and its expression—these are the two factors which must solve the problem; and it matters not how much we translate or overset—as the Germans felicitously say—so long as we go no deeper and do not grasp at what all literatures have in common.
  9. To overfill.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Howell to this entry?)