Definition of overwrought in English:


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  • 1In a state of nervous excitement or anxiety.

    ‘she was too overwrought to listen to reason’
    • ‘She had looked forward to his return after a long absence; she had been in a nervous overwrought state after her husband's death and her health was not good.’
    • ‘Add to these the author's overwrought imagination, which refuses to settle for the number of persons the vehicle can safely carry.’
    • ‘She dismissed the thought as the result of her overwrought imagination, but it was all she could do not to run the last few steps to her cell.’
    • ‘She explains that animation was used as a tool to dramatize the passionate, hysterical, overwrought and angry elements of teenagers' lives.’
    • ‘Uranian mind-vibes can sometimes get Mercurial Virgos overwrought and on edge.’
    • ‘After a second, I realized she was joking, partly in response to my complaints about the hysterical and occasionally overwrought response to this new disease.’
    • ‘Bear in mind I was very tired and emotionally overwrought when I wrote this blog, my imagination may have run away with itself.’
    • ‘He commands this role, speaking in a frenzied bark of orders, put-downs and overwrought egomania.’
    • ‘A murmur of much humming rose from half the tables in the room, and some of the more overwrought listeners laid down knife and fork in order to be able to burst in with loud clappings at the earliest permissible moment.’
    • ‘Supposedly laying ones neurotic soul bare through primal, overwrought wailing has become a commodity.’
    • ‘An FBI chaplain answered the phone saying, ‘Her husband's overwrought.’’
    • ‘His overwrought extemporizing on Monday night proved that his ego's still in it; maybe his political imagination will rejoin the wagon train at some future stop.’
    • ‘These overwrought visitors to the site of the tragedy, clutch each other in their grief, almost inconsolable - until they return to their safe suburban homes and turn on the tv to await their next bite of reality.’
    • ‘Racing lately has been surrounded by hysteria, which is one of the most pejorative words in the language, as it was foisted upon us in antiquity by men who had determined that only women became emotionally overwrought.’
    • ‘As he told his story, he appeared overwrought, fatigued and unsure of how to deal with what he characterized as the extreme pressure of national attention.’
    • ‘In the end, when the ‘crisis’ has been resolved in the usual muddy compromise, people are embarrassed to look back and see how overwrought they had become.’
    • ‘I mean, the most overwrought jury in the history of America.’
    • ‘Overweight, overtired and overwrought with grief, Duncan presented an excessively undisciplined body.’
    • ‘Happily, there is a move afoot to accommodate my overwrought correspondent.’
    • ‘In other words, he was an easy, if overwrought, target.’
    tense, agitated, nervous, on edge, edgy, keyed up, worked up, highly strung, neurotic, overexcited, beside oneself, distracted, distraught, under a strain, frantic, frenzied, hysterical, panicky, restless, jittery, fidgety, jumpy
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  • 2(of a piece of writing or a work of art) too elaborate or complicated in design or construction.

    ‘a pseudo-Gothic church far too overwrought for such a small town’
    • ‘overwrought prose’
    • ‘The award for most overwrought writing about snow goes to…’
    • ‘Some overwrought writing mars an otherwise sharp and insightful exploration of homophobia in the deep South.’
    • ‘On the other hand, the straight-ahead rock, soul and Eurodance is the overwrought work of a man who should know better.’
    • ‘And I hate that song with a passion that goes back to 1973, when my ears were first assaulted by that overwrought piece of music.’
    • ‘Some people just can't see past the wooden characters, overwrought prose, and fantastic speculations about the nature of the universe.’
    • ‘It persists with its misty gaze in shuttered rooms… and in overwrought prose…’
    • ‘His account of his road trip has an endearingly amateurish quality-not least because of the author's penchant for mixed metaphors and overwrought prose.’
    • ‘Yes, I know it's rather stilted, nay overwrought, prose.’
    • ‘The prose is sometimes overwrought, and often obscure for those without some knowledge of opera.’
    • ‘A nasty, overwrought contrived thriller about a woman suspected of bumping off her appalling husband.’
    • ‘Amusing at points, but overwrought and contrived for the most part’
    • ‘They're derided because of the E-word, and I'd be lying if I said that part of their appeal isn't in the overwrought, baroque delivery.’
    • ‘But it's hard not to examine the writing or the characterization without regretting their overwrought, bombastic tones.’
    • ‘And I still thought the piece from Soul Stories was overwrought and pretentious.’
    • ‘It is a giant, overwrought contrivance, a vehicle for communicating the filmmakers' murky and unappealing musings about society and human beings.’
    • ‘At times his work gets bogged down in its own abstract acrobatics, becoming contrived and overwrought.’
    • ‘For one thing, Barry's prose style, while occasionally overwrought, is brilliant.’
    • ‘There is a refreshing simple charm and provocativeness to many of these narratives that is perhaps a result of simply not being overwrought by academic rhetoric and formal writing training.’
    • ‘I wondered as I listened to the mannered and overwrought theatrical stuff why he hadn't put that in there instead.’
    • ‘I now forget the initial inspiration for the poem, but its not hard to imagine that I had recently read some morose poem and thought it a bit overwrought.’
    excessively ornate, over-ornate, over-elaborate, over-embellished, overblown, overripe, exaggerated, overdone, florid, busy, fussy, contrived, overworked, strained, laboured, baroque, rococo
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/ˌōvəˈrôt/ /ˌoʊvəˈrɔt/


Late Middle English archaic past participle of overwork.