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From Middle English overshoten, oversheten (to shoot beyond, shoot past, pour down from above), perhaps continuing Old English ofersċēotan (to shoot down), equivalent to over- +‎ shoot.



overshoot (countable and uncountable, plural overshoots)

  1. (countable) The amount by which something goes too far.
    Let's see if we can predict and correct for the overshoot.
  2. (countable, ecology) When the population of a species exceeds its environment's carrying capacity.
    • 2004, Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows, “Author's preface”, in Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update, →ISBN:
      With appropriate choice and action such uncontrolled decline could be avoided; overshoot could instead be resolved by a conscious effort to reduce humanity's demand on the planet.
    • 2012, James Howard Kunstler, “Where We're at”, in Too Much Magic, →ISBN:
      Population overshoot is therefore unlikely to yield to management. Rather, the usual suspects will enter the scene and do their thing: starvation, disease, [] violence [] [and] death [] .
    • 2017 August 14, Richard Heinberg, “Systemic Change Driven by Moral Awakening Is Our Only Hope”, in Ecowatch[1]:
      Our core ecological problem is not climate change. It is overshoot, of which global warming is a symptom.
  3. (uncountable, typography, design) The portion of a letter extending above the capline of other letters of the same font, or the relative degree of such extent.
    • 2019, Reece Patton, Formatting for Print[2]:
      The portion resting beyond the capline or baseline is called overshoot.
    • 2020, Karen Cheng, Designing Type, 2nd edition, page 88:
      The bowl of the D and the O are usually not identical, as most D forms do not have overshoot or undershoot.



overshoot (third-person singular simple present overshoots, present participle overshooting, simple past and past participle overshot)

  1. To go past something; to go too far.
    When you drive, you must remember to not overshoot the parking space and end up with two wheels over the line.
    • 1961 November, “Talking of Trains: Aircraft on rail tracks”, in Trains Illustrated, page 650:
      As a result of the accident at Southend Airport when a Hermes aircraft overshot the runway and fouled the down Shenfield to Southend Victoria line between Rochford and Prittlewell, the Eastern Region is considering warning arrangements, which have already been provided on some lines running past aerodromes.
    • 2021 December 15, Paul Clifton, “There is nothing you can do”, in RAIL, number 946, page 37:
      A ScotRail Driver: [] A good friend of mine overshot two stations back-to-back a couple of years ago. He tried to stop at one station and slid by it. Tried to stop at the next station. He slid by that, too.
  2. To shoot beyond; to shoot too far to hit something.
    • 1692–1717, Robert South, Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, 6th edition, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: [] J[ames] Bettenham, for Jonah Bowyer, [], published 1727, →OCLC:
      not to overshoot his game
  3. To pass swiftly over; to fly beyond.
  4. (figurative) To exceed.
    to overshoot the truth
    • 1782, William Cowper, “Conversation”, in Poems: by William Cowper, of the Inner Temple, Esq., →OCLC:
      That fire abated that impells rash youth,
      Proud of his speed to overshoot the truth,
    • 2004, Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, Dennis Meadows, “Author's preface”, in Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update, →ISBN:
      Measured this way humanity was last at sustainable levels in the 1980s. Now it has overshot by some 20 percent.
    • 2019, Reece Patton, Formatting for Print[3]:
      The amount a letter overshoots is based on the design, but your eye shouldn’t notice it.
  5. (reflexive) To venture too far; to overreach (oneself).