Definition of overman in English:



[with object]
  • Provide with more staff than necessary.

    ‘the company was vastly overmanned’
    • ‘Indeed, hiring people is so cheap in comparison to other costs, that workplaces tend to be quite shockingly overmanned.’
    • ‘Mr Jones said: ‘We have been overmanned in some departments.’’
    • ‘If they concentrate on personal banking they will meet up with the same cost pressures which the real banks have - largely as a result of rising costs of bank employees and overmanning.’
    • ‘They've been made scapegoats because the fire station is overmanned.’
    • ‘For most of this period JNR suffered from overmanning and union disruption, whilst considerable investment had been made in new infrastructure.’
    • ‘There is intriguing evidence of persistent overmanning, i.e. maintaining unproductive labour, well into the structural adjustment phase.’
    • ‘While the pace contingent is threadbare, the spin section is overmanned.’
    • ‘Local authorities have become vast empires of superfluous activity, overmanned at taxpayers' expense.’
    • ‘Whatever the reason, public libraries were exempt until recently from the usual criticisms levelled at public services - that they are expensive to maintain, overmanned and generally inefficient.’
    • ‘Historic under-investment, endemic overmanning and antediluvian labour relations finally caught up with it just when it had a management least able to cope.’
    • ‘Australia's waterside workers (dockers, longshoremen) had a big defeat a few years ago when both business and government got tough on their overmanning practices and cut the wharf workforce drastically.’
    • ‘The receiver had no problem identifying the fatal weaknesses; a slump in the market, overmanning, and massive premises which were costing a fortune to maintain.’
    • ‘Amongst these was overmanning, poor marketing knowledge, poor communications by road and rail and lack of modern manufacturing methods.’
    • ‘It is time for a radical decentralisation programme for our vastly overmanned Civil Service.’
    • ‘If the rate is overmanned, then those Sailors who want to stay will be asked to take a look at other rates that aren't fully manned and then be provided the training opportunity to help them convert.’
    • ‘‘A second cut against the King's Division of Northern England would be grossly disproportionate, very wasteful of highly trained infantrymen and lead to overmanning and redundancies.’’
    • ‘Out went artificial demarcation lines, overmanning and inflexibility.’
    • ‘Amid a barrage of criticism from the public about featherbedding and overmanning, Hong Kong's civil service is being forced to streamline and reform.’
    • ‘The company is plainly overmanned, and that is the single biggest cost that needs to be tackled.’
    • ‘They encourage overmanning and a focus on the employee rather than the customer.’


  • 1An overseer in a colliery.

    • ‘He had mixed feelings therefore, about moving closer to home, as it might well mean going back on to the pick and shovel as there weren't many jobs going for overmen like himself.’
    • ‘The grandest, the undermanagers, overmen, engineers and surveyors lived nearest the colliery in streets with names: Thompson, Grant, West View.’
    • ‘Then the overmen of the different pits came forward to shake hands with him, whilst the miners waved their caps.’
    • ‘The overmen have the charge of the working of the pit, and more especially of the safety of the men, whence their name.’
    • ‘On my mother's side, the majority of the family working in the industry were officials, on the management side - senior colliery overmen and jobs of that nature.’
    • ‘But they have fallen into the clutches of certain people not as desirable as the Yuppie overman.’
    supervisor, overseer, superintendent, manager, boss, team leader, line manager, controller
    View synonyms
  • 2Philosophy

    another term for superman
    • ‘Just over a century ago, Zarathustra came down from his solitary wanderings in the mountains and addressed the people thus: ‘I teach you the overman’.’
    • ‘Since Zarathustra tells women that their greatest hope should be to bear the overman, Nietzsche is sometimes taken to exclude the concept of the noble woman.’
    • ‘He had taught them about Nietzsche and his philosophy of the overman, a superior man who did not have to obey conventions and morals made for inferiors.’
    • ‘The overman is he who alone leads man to what he is: the being who surpasses himself, and in whose surpassing there is affirmed the necessity of his passing.’
    • ‘This is the stuff of Nietzsche, in his declaration that ‘Man is a rope, fastened between animal and overman a rope over an abyss.’’