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From Middle English overthwart, overthwert, overtwert, overquert, overwhart, equivalent to over- +‎ thwart. Compare Dutch overdwaars (across), Danish overtvært (across).




  1. (archaic, Britain dialect) From one side to the other of.
    Synonyms: across, athwart
    • 1670, John Milton, The History of Britain, London: James Allestry, Book 2, p. 42,[1]
      [] entrance, and access on all sides, by the felling of huge Trees overthwart one another, was quite barr’d up;



overthwart (comparative more overthwart, superlative most overthwart)

  1. (archaic) From side to side.
    Synonyms: across, athwart
    • 1663, Samuel Butler, Hudibras, London, Canto 2, p. 36,[2]
      For when a Gyant’s slain in fight,
      And mow’d orethwart, or cleft downright,
      It is a heavy case, no doubt,
      A man should have his Brains beat out,
      Because he’s tall, and has large Bones;


overthwart (comparative more overthwart, superlative most overthwart)

  1. (obsolete) Having a transverse position; placed or situated across; hence, opposite.
    • 1692, John Dryden, Cleomenes, the Spartan Heroe, London: Jacob Tonson, Act V, p. 65,[3]
      [] we whisper, for fear our over-thwart Neighbours
      Should hear us cry, Liberty, and betray us to the Government.
  2. (obsolete) Crossing in kind or disposition.
    Synonyms: adverse, opposing, perverse
    • 1702, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England, Oxford, 1717, Volume 1, Part 1, p. 83,[4]
      He had pass’d two or three Acts of Parliament, which had much lessen’d the Authority and Dependence of the Nobility, and great Men, and incens’d, and dispos’d them proportionably to cross, and oppose any Proposition, which would be most grateful; and that overthwart humour was enough discover’d to rule in the breasts of many, who made the greatest professions.



  1. (obsolete) That which is overthwart; an adverse circumstance; opposition.
    • 1557, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, “Praise of meane and constant estate” in Songes and sonettes, London: Richard Tottel,[5]
      A hart wel stayd, in ouerthwartes depe,
      Hopeth amendes: in swete, doth feare the sowre.
    • 1611, John Donne, An Anatomy of the World, London: Samuel Macham,[6]
      We thinke the heavens enjoy their Sphericall
      Their round proportion embracing all.
      But yet their various and perplexed course,
      Observ’d in divers ages doth enforce
      Men to finde out so many Eccentrique parts,
      Such divers downe-right lines, such overthwarts,
      As disproportion that pure forme. []