Definition of overdrive in English:

overdrive

noun

  • 1A gear in a motor vehicle providing a gear ratio higher than that of direct drive (the usual top gear), so that the engine speed can be reduced at high road speeds to lessen fuel consumption or to allow further acceleration.

    • ‘It is available in either a five speed manual or an electronically controlled four speed auto with electric overdrive.’
    • ‘It offers smooth shifts and a wide spread of ratios that ideally suit the engine's characteristics - including a tall overdrive fifth gear for quiet, efficient highway cruising.’
    • ‘When you use overdrive on the highway, the car's engine speed decreases, reducing the amount of fuel used.’
    • ‘A four speed automatic with overdrive and lockup torque converter comes standard with the petrol engine.’
    • ‘The fifth gear is an overdrive ratio - very economic on longer runs - so the Tino reaches its maximum speed of 110 mph in fourth gear.’
    • ‘That engine power is then transferred to the wheels by means of a 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and a lock-up torque converter.’
    • ‘Get the gears out of overdrive, and only then will you really thrive.’
    • ‘In my third year, the overdrive was limited, and we had to rev the cars up to 9,500 rpm.’
    • ‘A variable speed automatic transmission with overdrive is standard.’
    • ‘The transmissions will also generally run cooler under a heavy load if you shift down one gear out of overdrive.’
    • ‘The original three-speed standard transmission has been upgraded to a 700R four-speed automatic transmission with an overdrive lock-up converter.’
    • ‘Standard for this trim is the 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive.’
    • ‘Tall overdrive ratios also improve mileage ratings in EPA highway-cycle tests.’
    • ‘Unlike other six-speeders, this box doesn't provide an overdrive sixth gear that's pretty well useless at anything under 160 km/h.’
    • ‘Not a powerful car, even in its day, with only 57 kW on tap, it was designed for the freeways and had an overdrive transmission feature to reduce engine revs by 25 percent.’
    • ‘Sally's problem, however, was with her overdrive transmission.’
    • ‘The manual box is pretty nifty, but heavy to select reverse, and the overdrive sixth and high fifth gears mean it depends on left wrist exercise.’
    • ‘Most automatic transmission cars will have an overdrive button right on the gearshift.’
    1. 1.1 A mechanism which permits the exceeding of some normal operating level in a piece of equipment, especially the amplifier of an electric guitar.
      • ‘And I know, just know, as I stomp on the overdrive that it's going to be one of those perfect guitar solos, maybe the perfect solo.’
  • 2[mass noun] A state of great or excessive activity:

    ‘the city's worried public relations group went into overdrive’
    • ‘The media went into overdrive at least a week in advance with daily warnings about the ‘big freeze’ to come.’
    • ‘They scored only one point in the remaining minutes while Mayo went into overdrive.’
    • ‘As Ireland went into overdrive after the break, it was hard to believe they had been involved in such a scrap earlier on.’
    • ‘Asylum-seeker hysteria went into overdrive last week in England.’
    • ‘While the gin bottles diminished at an ever-increasing rate in the living-room, the dishwasher went into overdrive in the kitchen.’
    • ‘Throughout the latter part of the 1990's the markets surged ahead, generating untold wealth for some people as all stocks went into overdrive.’
    • ‘However, during the few weeks when a trip to Kazakhstan remained a possibility, the football branch of our journalistic fraternity went into overdrive.’
    • ‘Many Sunday papers went into overdrive with special editions and extensive coverage charting her long life.’
    • ‘Meinertzhagen went into overdrive, working day and night to persuade staff and clients to stay.’
    • ‘I thought I was doing quite well until late yesterday evening it became clear that my heart was not at all happy with the heat, and I had an uncomfortable half hour while it went into overdrive in protest.’
    • ‘It's gone on for so long now that I really can't remember when it started, although I suppose that if I cast my mind back everything probably went into overdrive at the end of August.’
    • ‘But the European regulations kicked the effort into overdrive.’
    • ‘They went into overdrive, portraying her as a gold-digging divorcee.’
    • ‘She flawlessly depicts a girl on the edge whose rebellion, in overdrive, is fueling self-destructive behavior.’
    • ‘The machine in her mind switched gears and ground into overdrive.’
    • ‘It was such a simple question, but I had never been asked anything of the sort and it sent me into an overdrive.’
    • ‘My mind sped on overdrive for the next week as summer came looming.’
    • ‘Days after the wedding, the mania went into overdrive.’
    • ‘The rumour mill went into overdrive and the identity of her alleged attacker was said to be a well-known secret in London's close-knit television community.’
    • ‘‘Timing constraints threw this program into overdrive,’ he says.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Drive or work to exhaustion:

    ‘an overdriven mother of ten children’
    • ‘This is probably one source of the ‘hypnotic’ effect that people in this thread have mentioned - you're overdriving part of the brain, it seems.’
    • ‘Bruised and shaken, sweating like an overdriven horse, she imagined how pleasant it would be to lie down in the garbage and go to sleep.’
  • 2Give (an electric guitar) a distorted sound:

    ‘pounding drums and overdriven electric guitars’
    • ‘A big, rumbling beat joins with a wobbly bass line so overdriven it sounds on the verge of collapse.’
    • ‘This gently warped lyricism is soon displaced by ‘electric candyland,’ which is filled with distorted rumbling and overdriven guitar noises ranging from howls to sci-fi lab pulses and whines.’
    • ‘There was a time in my life when I still believed that a crunchy riff from an overdriven guitar amplifier signified something elemental and fierce.’
    • ‘Music needs a kick from something other than a badly played overdriven guitar.’
    • ‘The lack of a significant damping factor is one reason vintage amps sounded so rich on the bottom and so relaxed when overdriven.’
    • ‘The Pogues were so punk they didn't need overdriven guitar, breakneck drumming or discontented lyrics.’
    • ‘There's a bass hiding in there, peeking out from behind the overdriven rhythm guitars and ponderously formless solos like a shy mammal trying not to be seen.’
    • ‘A clip-release position simulates an overdriven electronic distortion that could work for guitars or synths.’
    • ‘The band is obsessed by the music of Rhythm and Blues, with its contagious grooves, boogie piano, sax riffs and overdriven guitar solos.’
    • ‘It is the sound of an overdriven guitar squall tamed by an expert musician into stunning walls of noise.’

Pronunciation:

overdrive

/ˈəʊvədrʌɪv/