Definition of overstep in English:



  • Pass beyond or exceed (a limit or standard)

    ‘you must not overstep your borrowing limit’
    ‘he has overstepped the bounds of acceptable discipline’
    • ‘Moreover, if he is overstepping the limits of his office, it is in part because the insurance commissioners of New York and other states are not doing their jobs.’
    • ‘In some ways, however, it was the court's majority that was in danger of overstepping the limits of its power.’
    • ‘As it is, we are not persuaded that the questioning of the appellant overstepped the proper limits, even if it exploited those limits to the full.’
    • ‘Richard held his own against the IM, but overstepped the time limit and lost.’
    • ‘But the defence still wants some of the items disqualified, claiming that investigators overstepped the limits of the search warrant.’
    • ‘The government oversteps its discretionary power to censor political speech when protesters are discriminated against merely based on the content of their unpopular speech.’
    • ‘It said that the defendant, who is alleged to have lost Allied Irish Banks' American subsidiary Allfirst more than €766 million, was routinely overstepping his credit limit.’
    • ‘As anyone close to the Supreme Court's work knows, this court has increasingly restricted the power of Congress when, in its view, Congress overstepped the powers granted to it by the Constitution.’
    • ‘This time it is Ashikaga Bank, which apparently has overstepped its adequacy limit, or something.’
    • ‘Anyone overstepping the limit can expect a ‘£5 fee for exceeding the monthly limit’.’
    • ‘The government threatened a showdown with Global Strategies Group, saying the London-based firm overstepped its powers when private guards shut the airport at dawn.’
    • ‘Most serious of all is that our political leaders repeatedly overstepped the scope of their constitutionally prescribed jobs.’
    • ‘Last week he turned down a request by the opposition for the convening of parliament in defiance of the president, saying he ‘can not overstep the limits’ of his powers.’
    • ‘The judicial branch has clearly overstepped their powers.’
    • ‘The memo also said he was routinely overstepping his credit limit.’
    • ‘The university relations officer feels that the student society is overstepping its mandate by entering into such a contract.’
    • ‘This conclusion is independent of whether the organ or official has contravened provisions of internal law or overstepped the limits of his authority.’
    • ‘The defence claimed police overstepped their bounds during that search and the search of a private detective's office.’
    • ‘China's first all-female detective agency has been closed following allegations it broke the law and overstepped the scope of its powers, an official at the center said yesterday.’
    • ‘He conceded to Congress that he had probably overstepped the constitutional boundaries established for the president and thus needed congressional sanction.’
    contravene, violate, transgress, break, breach, commit a breach of, disobey, defy, flout, fly in the face of, ride roughshod over, kick against
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  • overstep the mark

    • Behave in an unacceptable way.

      ‘he denies that his staff overstepped the mark in lobbying’
      • ‘A democratically elected Government may only go as far in any direction as the public is willing to allow it to go, and it will take the consequences if it oversteps the mark.’
      • ‘All the staff were wonderfully helpful, and our waiter in particular joked and flirted with us, without once overstepping the mark.’
      • ‘There are house rules, like not touching the girls, and a security guard has been hired in case any motorist oversteps the mark.’
      • ‘And you and your Mr Latham (I don't feel I'm overstepping the mark here) leave a lot to be desired.’
      • ‘There's been an unusual amount of back-chat between judges and politicians lately, with charges that each side is overstepping the mark.’
      • ‘If the Inland Revenue thinks that you are overstepping the mark, you could find yourself subject to a full-scale investigation.’
      • ‘Sometimes he does go dangerously close to overstepping the mark as happened at Grace Road last summer when he was reprimanded by the umpires and collected three points under the new disciplinary code.’
      • ‘The minister has been accused of overstepping the mark when stopping the teachers' pay prior to Christmas.’
      • ‘So it would be nice if we could talk less about householders overstepping the mark when attacking burglars, and more about how to stop burglars being there in the first place.’
      • ‘But the practice should have its limitations; overstepping the mark may exasperate the victim and show the perpetrators in their true colours.’