before 900; (adv., preposition) Middle English;Old Englishofer; cognate with Dutchover,Germanober; (adj.) Middle Englishover(e), orig. variant of uver(e) (E dial. uver; cf. love), Old Englishufera (akin to ofer), assimilated to the adv. form; akin to Latinsuper,Greekhypér,Sanskritupari. See up, hyper-
O.E. ofer, from P.Gmc. *uberi (cf. O.S. obar, O.Fris. over, O.N. yfir, O.H.G. ubar, Ger. über, Goth. ufar "over, above"), from PIE *uper (see super-). Sense of "finished" is attested from late 14c. In radio communication, used to indicate the speaker has finished speaking (1926). Widely used as a prefix in O.E. and other Germanic languages. Adjective phrase over-the-counter is attested from 1875, originally of stocks and shares.