follow Dictionary.com

Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma

overwrought

[oh-ver-rawt, oh-ver-] /ˈoʊ vərˈrɔt, ˌoʊ vər-/
adjective
1.
extremely or excessively excited or agitated:
to become overwrought on hearing bad news; an overwrought personality.
2.
elaborated to excess; excessively complex or ornate:
written in a florid, overwrought style.
3.
Archaic. wearied or exhausted by overwork.
Origin
1660-1670
1660-70; over- + wrought
Synonyms
1. overexcited, worked up, wrought up, distracted, frantic.

overwork

[v. oh-ver-wurk; n. oh-ver-wurk] /v. ˌoʊ vərˈwɜrk; n. ˈoʊ vərˌwɜrk/
verb (used with object)
1.
to cause to work too hard, too much, or too long; weary or exhaust with work (often used reflexively):
Don't overwork yourself on that new job.
2.
to work up, stir up, or excite excessively:
to overwork a mob to the verge of frenzy.
3.
to employ or elaborate to excess:
an appeal for sympathy that has been overworked by many speakers.
4.
to work or decorate all over; decorate the surface of:
white limestone overworked with inscriptions.
verb (used without object)
5.
to work too hard, too much, or too long; work to excess:
You look as though you've been overworking.
noun
6.
work beyond one's strength or capacity.
7.
extra or excessive work.
Origin
before 1000; Old English oferwyrcan. See over-, work
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for over-wrought

overwork

verb (mainly transitive) (ˌəʊvəˈwɜːk)
1.
(also intransitive) to work or cause to work too hard or too long
2.
to use too much to overwork an excuse
3.
to decorate the surface of
4.
to work up
noun (ˈəʊvəˌwɜːk)
5.
excessive or excessively tiring work
Derived Forms
overworked, adjective

overwrought

/ˌəʊvəˈrɔːt/
adjective
1.
full of nervous tension; agitated
2.
too elaborate; fussy an overwrought style
3.
(often postpositive) and foll by with. with the surface decorated or adorned
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for over-wrought
overwork
"to cause to work too hard," 1530, from over + work (q.v.). O.E. oferwiercan meant "to work all over," i.e. "to decorate the whole surface of."
overwrought
"worked up to too high a pitch," 1825, lit. "over-worked," from over + wrought (q.v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for overwrought

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for over

7
8
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with over-wrought