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[adv. oh-ver-awl; adj., n. oh-ver-awl] /adv. ˈoʊ vərˈɔl; adj., n. ˈoʊ vərˌɔl/
adverb, adjective
from one extreme limit of a thing to the other:
the overall length of the bridge.
covering or including everything:
an overall impression; to view something overall.
overalls, (used with a plural verb)
  1. loose, sturdy trousers, usually with a bib or biblike piece to which shoulder straps are attached, originally worn over other trousers to protect them, as by factory workers or farmers.
  2. long waterproof leggings.
British. a smock or loose-fitting housedress.
Origin of overall
before 1000; Middle English overal (adv.), Old English ofer eall; see over, all Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for overall
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But the theory which Sherlock had learned from overall was unmixed baseness and wickedness.

  • There's my brown Holland overall, and Hudson could brush my hair, and make it tidy.

    The Children of Wilton Chase Mrs. L. T. Meade
  • "I want you to find me an overall for this lady before you stir another step," she shrieked emphatically.

    The War-Workers E.M. Delafield
  • I have no recommendations for an overall solution, or even a regional one.

    This Crowded Earth Robert Bloch
  • In a very short time each man had got out of his overall jumper and into his heart's desire.

    The Golden Bird Maria Thompson Daviess
British Dictionary definitions for overall


adjective (prenominal) (ˈəʊvərˌɔːl)
from one end to the other
including or covering everything: the overall cost
adverb (ˌəʊvərˈɔːl)
in general; on the whole
noun (ˈəʊvərˌɔːl)
(Brit) a protective work garment usually worn over ordinary clothes
(pl) hard-wearing work trousers with a bib and shoulder straps or jacket attached
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for overall

"everywhere," Old English ofer eall, from ofer "over" (see over) + eall (see all). Sense of "including everything" is from 1894. The noun in the clothing sense (usually plural) of "loose trousers of a strong material worn by cowboys, etc." is from 1782. Specific sense "loose fitting canvas trousers with a bib and strap top" (originally worn by workmen over other clothes to protect them from wet, dirt, etc.) is attested from 1897.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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