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Alternative forms[edit]


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English overweninge, equivalent to overween +‎ -ing. Cognate with obsolete Dutch overwanig, overwaand (presumptuous; cocky; conceited).


overweening (comparative more overweening, superlative most overweening)

  1. Unduly confident; arrogant
    Synonyms: presumptuous, conceited
    She wins one modeling contest in Montana and suddenly she’s overweening.
    • c. 1601–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or What You Will”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene v], page 263, column 2:
      Heere's an ouer-weening rogue.
    • 1842, [anonymous collaborator of Letitia Elizabeth Landon], chapter LXIII, in Lady Anne Granard; or, Keeping up Appearances. [], volume III, London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC, page 175:
      The offer freely given was freely accepted, this gentleman already standing high in their opinion from his conduct to the Count; nor could they doubt that Lady Anne had lost herself many years of pleasant, and probably profitable intercourse with him, from her own acrimony of temper and overweening pride of manners; []
    • 1870, Carl Schurz, George H. Thomas Eulogy:
      No success rendered him overweening and no disaster was ever known to stagger his firmness.
    • 1908, Frederic Bancroft, William A. Dunning, A Sketch of Carl Schurz’s Political Career:
      The Senate was displaying an overweening hauteur as if it were the government.
    • 2016 October 3, Tad Friend, “Sam Altman’s Manifest Destiny”, in The New Yorker[1]:
      The Valley prizes overweening ambition but expects it to be “rifle-focussed” on making the world’s best houseboat-rental platform or Cognac-delivery service.
  2. Exaggerated, excessive.
    • 2015 January 4, Jonathan Rauch, “How to Make Men Free”, in NY Times[2]:
      The idea that an overweening federal government is a threat to both freedom and equality (not to mention prosperity) goes back to Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry and some other fairly respectable personages.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English overweninge, equivalent to overween +‎ -ing.


overweening (countable and uncountable, plural overweenings)

  1. (now rare) An excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s abilities; presumption, arrogance.

Etymology 3[edit]

See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.



  1. present participle and gerund of overween