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[oh-ver-kom-puh n-sey-shuh n] /ˈoʊ vərˌkɒm pənˈseɪ ʃən/
noun, Psychoanalysis
a pronounced striving to neutralize and conceal a strong but unacceptable character trait by substituting for it an opposite trait.
compensation to an unnecessary or unreasonable degree:
The pay was overcompensation for the work done.
1915-20; over- + compensation; as psychoanalytic term, translation of Überkompensation, coined by Alfred Adler
Related forms
[oh-ver-kuh m-pen-suh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈoʊ vər kəmˈpɛn səˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for overcompensation
  • What happened next was a textbook case of overcompensation.
  • Bioenergetics, overcompensation, and the source-sink status of marine reserves.
  • In effect, however, such an overcompensation scheme simply represents a transfer from ratepayers to the utility.
  • We have previously stated that credits, at common law, were a tool to avoid overcompensation of plaintiffs.
  • There should not be overcompensation for biofuels, and support levels should take into consideration the costs of raw materials.
British Dictionary definitions for overcompensation


(psychol) an attempt to make up for a character trait by overexaggerating its opposite
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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overcompensation in Medicine

overcompensation o·ver·com·pen·sa·tion (ō'vər-kŏm'pən-sā'shən)

  1. Excessive compensation, especially the exertion of effort beyond what is needed to compensate for a physical or psychological characteristic or defect.

  2. An extreme neurotic striving for power or prestige because of a feeling of inferiority.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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