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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 dialectal) From one side to the other of; across.
    • 1485 July 31, Thomas Malory, “Capitulum XXII”, in [Le Morte Darthur], book IV, [London]: [] [by William Caxton], OCLC 71490786; republished as H[einrich] Oskar Sommer, editor, Le Morte Darthur [], London: Published by David Nutt, [], 1889, OCLC 890162034, page 083:
      And when he came to the pavilions, he tied his horse unto a tree, and pulled out his sword naked in his hand, and went to them thereas they lay, and yet he thought it were shame to slay them sleeping, and laid the naked sword overthwart both their throats, and so took his horse and rode his way.
      1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter xxij, in Le Morte Darthur, book IV:
      And whanne he came to the pauelions / he tayed his hors vnto a tree / and pulled oute his swerd naked in his hand / and wente to them there as they lay / and yet he thought it were shame to slee them slepynge / and layd the naked swerd ouerthwart bothe their throtes / and soo tooke his hors and rode his awaye
    • 1663, Samuel Butler, Hudibras, part 1, canto 1
      For when a giant's slain in fight, / And mow'd o'erthwart, or cleft downright, / It is a heavy case, no doubt, / A man should have his brains beat out []
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      Huge trees overthwart one another.



overthwart (comparative more overthwart, superlative most overthwart)

  1. Having a transverse position; placed or situated across; hence, opposite.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
      Our overthwart neighbours.
  2. Crossing in kind or disposition; perverse; adverse; opposing.



  1. (obsolete) That which is overthwart; an adverse circumstance; opposition.
    • Ld. Surrey, Songs and Sonnets.
      A heart, well stay'd, in overthwartes deep, Hopeth amends.
    • 1611, John Donne, An Anatomy of the World, London: Samuel Macham,[1]
      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. []