over- repr. OE. ofer-, comb. form of prec., of which there are some 300 comps.; the number was increased in ME. and later, with modifications and developments of the primary meanings. The chief senses are ‘situated above’, ‘upper’, ‘in excess’, ‘extra’, ‘lying, extending, or moving across’, ‘passing over a limit or an obstacle’, ‘beyond in degree or quality’, ‘covering a surface’, ‘with dominating or damaging influence or effect’; ‘with disturbance of situation’, as overbalance (XVI), overcast (XIII), overset (XVI), overturn (XIV), OVERWHELM; special uses are those in overhear hear without intention (XVI), overlook look over and beyond and so not see or notice (XVI), OVERTAKE; overcoat and overshoe (XIX) are orig. U.S. and are prob. renderings of the corr. G. or Du. words.
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