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[oh-ver-rahyt] /ˌoʊ vərˈraɪt/
verb (used with object), overwrote, overwritten, overwriting.
to write in too elaborate, burdensome, diffuse, or prolix a style:
He overwrites his essays to the point of absurdity.
to write in excess of the requirements, especially so as to defeat the original intention:
That young playwright tends to overwrite her big scenes.
to write on or over; cover with writing:
a flyleaf overwritten with a dedication.
verb (used without object), overwrote, overwritten, overwriting.
to write too elaborately:
The problem with so many young authors is that they tend to overwrite.
1690-1700; over- + write Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for overwrite
  • The overwrite option will override this option and overwrite the file.
  • When claim amount is being amended, the amended claim amount will overwrite the original claim amount.
  • Any subsequent write to the tape drive can overwrite data.
  • When the blocking send returns, the sender is free to access and overwrite the send buffer.
  • Neither the terminator or random canary offers complete protection against exploits that overwrite the return address.
  • Any changes to an existing report will overwrite it and jeopardize your compliance status.
  • Certified vendors remove, sanitize, overwrite or destroy information contained in those devices as required by this policy.
  • Any new properties overwrite corresponding old properties.
  • If selected, your defaults will not overwrite existing data.
  • If you have customized the girder library, be careful not to overwrite your custom library.
British Dictionary definitions for overwrite


verb -writes, -writing, -wrote, -written
to write (something) in an excessively ornate or prolix style
to write too much about (someone or something)
to write on top of (other writing)
to record on a storage medium, such as a magnetic disk, thus destroying what was originally recorded there
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 overwrite
1699, "to write over other writing," from over + write (q.v.). Of computers, it is attested from 1959. Meaning "to write too elaborately or ornately" is from 1923.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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