Try Our Apps


Pore Over vs. Pour Over


[oh-ver-heer] /ˌoʊ vərˈhɪər/
verb (used with object), overheard, overhearing.
to hear (speech or a speaker) without the speaker's intention or knowledge:
I accidentally overheard what they were saying.
Origin of overhear
1540-50; over- + hear
Related forms
overhearer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for overhear
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Not for worlds would Madge have had them overhear her conversation with Mrs. Curtis.

    Madge Morton's Victory Amy D.V. Chalmers
  • Wishing to know what they were up to, I stole slyly to where I could overhear their proceedings.

  • Here he was joined by Dick Ferris, and the two at once began an animated conversation, which Hal managed to overhear.

    The Missing Tin Box Arthur M. Winfield
  • Not another word of this just now, or they may overhear us.'

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • When she looked into the cabin and seen the remains uh that cow-critter, there was language it wasn't polite to overhear.

    The Happy Family Bertha Muzzy Bower
British Dictionary definitions for overhear


verb -hears, -hearing, -heard
(transitive) to hear (a person, remark, etc) without the knowledge of the speaker
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 overhear

"to hear what one is not meant to hear," 1540s, from over- + hear. The notion is perhaps "to hear beyond the intended range of the voice." Old English oferhieran also meant "to not listen, to disregard, disobey" (cf. overlook for negative force of over; also Middle High German überhaeren, Middle Dutch overhoren in same sense). Related: Overheard; overhearing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for overhear

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for overhear

Scrabble Words With Friends