9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[v. oh-ver-loo k; n. oh-ver-loo k] /v. ˌoʊ vərˈlʊk; n. ˈoʊ vərˌlʊk/
verb (used with object)
to fail to notice, perceive, or consider:
to overlook a misspelled word.
to disregard or ignore indulgently, as faults or misconduct:
Only a parent could overlook that kind of behavior.
to look over, as from a higher position:
a balcony that overlooks the ballroom.
to afford a view over; look down or out upon:
a hill overlooking the sea.
to rise above:
The Washington Monument overlooks the tidal basin.
to excuse; pardon:
a minor infraction we can overlook this time.
to look over in inspection, examination, or perusal:
They allowed us to overlook the proposed contract.
to look after, oversee, or supervise:
She has to overlook a large number of employees.
Archaic. to look upon with the evil eye; bewitch.
terrain, as on a cliff, that affords an attractive vista or a good view:
Miles of landscape could be seen from the overlook.
Origin of overlook
1325-75; Middle English; see over-, look
Related forms
unoverlooked, adjective
Can be confused
overlook, oversee, oversight.
1. miss. See slight. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for overlook
  • But one shouldn't overlook the chilling effect of years of deflation.
  • Flooded rice terraces overlook water sparkling with fishermen's fires.
  • We overlook big things, forget details, conflate events.
  • Don't overlook remnants when shopping for a countertop.
  • These are the things you overlook when you've been out of the vomit game for a while.
  • Becoming strategic is no excuse for boards to overlook the need to raise money.
  • It is easy to overlook a factor as obvious and unsophisticated as this, but it is important.
  • It is that scenario that everyone seems to overlook.
  • Inside, wooden balconies overlook the performance space, and folding chairs line the floors.
  • Both the living room and the kitchen, at opposite ends of the main space, overlook the dunes.
British Dictionary definitions for overlook


verb (transitive) (ˌəʊvəˈlʊk)
to fail to notice or take into account
to disregard deliberately or indulgently
to look at or over from above: the garden is overlooked by the prison
to afford a view of from above: the house overlooks the bay
to rise above
to look after
to look at carefully
to bewitch or cast the evil eye upon (someone)
noun (US) (ˈəʊvəˌlʊk)
a high place affording a view
an act of overlooking
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 overlook

mid-14c., "to examine, scrutinize, inspect," from over- + look (v.). Another Middle English sense was "to peer over the top of." These two literal senses have given rise to the two main modern meanings. Meaning "to look over or beyond and thus not see," via notion of "to choose to not notice" is first recorded 1520s. Seemingly contradictory sense of "to watch over officially, keep an eye on, superintend" is from 1530s. Related: Overlooked; overlooking. In Shekaspeare's day, overlooking also was a common term for "inflicting the evil eye on" (someone or something).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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