overly (not comparable)

  1. To an excessive degree.
    Parents can be overly protective of their children.
    • 1821, John Galt (novelist), Annals of the Parish, Philadelphia: M. Carey & Sons, Chapter 37, p. 214,
      […] considering the circumstances of my situation, I saw it would not do for me to look out for an overly young woman, nor yet would it do for one of my ways to take an elderly maiden, ladies of that sort being liable to possess strong-set particularities.
    • 1908, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 30,
      It’s nothing short of wonderful how she’s improved these three years, but especially in looks. She’s a real pretty girl got to be, though I can’t say I’m overly partial to that pale, big-eyed style myself.
    • 1958, Robert Heinlein, Have Space Suit—Will Travel, New York: Del Rey, Chapter 11, p. 238,
      Your race is overly sentimental; it distorts your judgment.
    • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page viii:
      This means, at times, long and perhaps overly discursive discussions of other taxa.
  2. (obsolete) Superficially.
    • 1566, Thomas Blundeville, The Fower Chiefyst Offices Belongyng to Horsemanshippe, London, “The true Arte of Paring, and shooyng all maner of Houes together […] ,” Chapter 5,
      […] let him not touche the quarters nor the heeles at al, vnlesse it be to make the seat of the shoe playne, & let that be done so superficially or ouerly as maye be, so shall the houes remayne alwayes strong.
    • 1604, William Perkins (theologian), A Commentarie or Exposition, vpon the Fiue First Chapters of the Epistle to the Galatians, Cambridge, Chapter 6, p. 482,
      These kinds of reproofes, not vnfitly may be compared to hotte or hastie healing salues, which drawe a faire skinne ouer a fowle wound; which because it is not soundly cured from the bottome, but ouerly healed vp, doth afterward apostemate or fistulate, and becommeth more dangerous and desperate then euer before.
    • 1678, George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, The Laws and Customes of Scotland, in Matters Criminal, Edinburgh, Part 1, “Some Crimes punished amongst the Romans, which are not directly in use with us,” p. 347,
      […] I resolved here to touch overly even those crimes which are little considered among us, not only that we might thereby know the genius of that wise Nation; but that we may consider how far it were fit to renew amongst us these excellent Laws.
  3. (obsolete) Carelessly, without due attention.
    • 1629, John Preston (priest), The New Covenant, or the Saints Portion, London: Nicolas Bourne, Sermon 9, p. 51,
      […] you shall finde this, that all remissenesse, when a man doth a thing remissely, and ouerly, and perfunctorily, it argues alway a diuided intention, it is an argument that the whole minde is not set on it, but that the intention is distracted, and bestowed on other things:
    • 1728, Daniel Defoe, A Plan of the English Commerce, London: Charles Rivington, p. 60,
      If you expect the Poor should work cheaper, and not perform their Work slighter and more overly, as we call it, and superficially, you expect what is not in the Nature of the Thing.
  4. (obsolete) With a sense of superiority, haughtily.
    • 1650, John Brinsley the younger, An Antidote against the Poysonous Weeds of Heretical Blasphemies, London: Ralph Smith, p. 3,
      The third [vice] is Arrogancie, and the fourth Pride, two vices neer a kinne, Cosen germans […] when men shall arrogate much unto themselves; looking overly and superciliously upon others.
Translations Adjective


  1. (obsolete) Superficial; not thorough; careless, negligent, inattentive.
    • 1602, Joseph Hall (bishop), Virgidemiarium Sixe Bookes, London: Robert Dexter, Satire 3, p. 52,
      The curteous Citizen bad me to his feast,
      With hollow words, and ouerly request:
      Come, will ye dine with me this Holy day?
      I yeelded, tho he hop’d I would say Nay:
    • 1627, Robert Sanderson (theologian), Ten Sermons, London: R. Dawlman, Sermon 3, p. 120,
      Hee prayeth but with an ouerly desire, and not from the deepe of his heart, that will not bend his endeauours withall to obtaine what he desireth:
    • 1762, Henry Home, Lord Kames, Elements of Criticism, Edinburgh: A. Kincaid & J. Bell, Volume 1, Chapter 2, Part 7, p. 222,
      Concerning the passions in particular, however irregular, headstrong, and perverse, in an overly view, they may appear, I propose to show, that they are by nature adjusted and tempered with admirable wisdom, for the good of society as well as for private good.
  2. (obsolete) Having a sense of superiority, haughty.
    • 1637, Joseph Hall (bishop), The Remedy of Prophanenesse, London: Nathanael Butter, Book 1, Section 8, p. 66,
      Those that know no better, may rejoyce and exult in these worldly contentments; but those, who have had but a blink of the beauty of heaven, can look upon them no otherwise, than with an overly contemptuousnesse.
  3. (obsolete) Excessive; too great.
    • 1839, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Notes on Baxter’s Life of Himself” in Henry Nelson Coleridge (ed.), The Literary Remains of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, London: W. Pickering, Volume 4, p. 140,
      […] there appears a very chilling want of open-heartedness on the part of Owen, produced perhaps by the somewhat overly and certainly most ungracious resentments of Baxter.

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