Definition of overwork in English:



  • 1 Exhaust with too much work.

    ‘tired, overworked, demoralized staff’
    • ‘If your staff is overworked or overextended, it will inevitably show in their attitudes toward customers.’
    • ‘A major altercation was narrowly avoided as 250 thirsty guests swamped the overpriced bar, demanding a drink from one of two hopelessly overworked bar staff.’
    • ‘Mr Peach admitted departmental officers were often overworked and inexperienced, and worked in isolation.’
    • ‘You'll be overworked and exhausted there, too.’
    • ‘Now health service staff are overworked at all levels, GP's overloaded with patients and health centres are overcrowded.’
    • ‘I attributed this to a large ward round, insufficient time, and overworked doctors.’
    • ‘The coaching staff is overworked and forced to do much of the personnel work.’
    • ‘Julie worries about her husband being overworked and dreams of taking a vacation trip with him, perhaps to Paris.’
    • ‘The most simple way to cut spending is to cut salaries for all doctors, but health-care staff are already overworked.’
    • ‘As long as there are fast food chains, there will always be underpaid and overworked line staff.’
    • ‘The judges are overworked, they're underpaid.’
    • ‘Morale is really low among staff and already some are leaving because they are overworked.’
    • ‘Not that I blame anyone, what with the way the NHS is underfunded and staff are overworked.’
    • ‘So no more vitamin B6, no Evening Primrose Oil, without a prescription from your already overworked GP.’
    • ‘The patent examiners are so overworked that they let a lot of this stuff through.’
    • ‘Pediatricians and child psychologists can fill some gaps, but they are also often overworked.’
    • ‘Fifty-eight percent said they were so overworked they could not provide the right level of care.’
    • ‘Equipment is not replaced after it has worn out, positions are left unfilled and staff are dangerously overworked.’
    • ‘These jobs can be done by one extraordinary and exhaustingly overworked person, or they can be shared among the available people according to ability, interest and need.’
    • ‘But even the most conscientious caseworkers are going to cut corners and make mistakes - often fatal mistakes - when they are overworked.’
    exploit, drive into the ground, tax, overtax, sweat, overburden, put upon, impose on, oppress
    stressed, under stress, stressed out, stress-ridden, strained, overtaxed, overburdened, overloaded, exhausted, fatigued, worn out
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[no object]Work too hard.
      ‘the doctor advised a complete rest because he had been overworking’
      • ‘I wish I'd read it 10 or 15 years ago, because I then wouldn't have had to learn the hard way what overworking for all the wrong reasons can do to you.’
      • ‘‘Overwrought’ by the same token must mean ‘overworked’, yet I guess that at least 94% of us sometimes get overwrought for reasons unconnected with overworking.’
      • ‘Jing is considered to be a very precious substance - the foundation of our constitutional energy - one that we need to protect and value by ensuring that we do not erode it through excesses, neither by overworking nor by partying!’
    2. 1.2Make excessive use of.
      ‘our lifts are overworked’
      • ‘The heart, already overworked because of less oxygen, has to work even harder to pump blood through the narrowed blocked vessels.’
      • ‘These nations are making no effective effort to ensure that their athletes are clean, instead leaving the job of enforcement to an overstretched, overworked WADA.’
      • ‘The welfare system is overworked, underpaid and they get burned out.’
      • ‘It is a fight neither party can win decisively, and in the meantime everyone is made worse off when seats are left open indefinitely, courts are overworked, and justice is delayed or denied.’
      • ‘Kansas City's bullpen was overworked last season because its young starters either broke down physically or threw too many pitches to consistently work past the sixth inning.’
    3. 1.3Use (a word or idea) too much and so make it weaker in meaning or effect.
      ‘‘Breathtaking’ is an overworked brochure cliché’
      • ‘This hideously overworked cliché alone is enough is enough to bar you from membership of the young-old club.’
      • ‘The word ‘passion’ is sadly overworked at most auto shows, but in Trevor's case it is right on the money.’
      • ‘No, I understand there's no more overworked or overused word than ‘new.’’
      • ‘It didn't take long for that pathetic - and overworked - excuse to unravel…’
      • ‘Metaphors or repetition become tiring and irritating when overworked, rather than amusing, moving or shocking.’


  • [mass noun] Excessive work.

    ‘his health broke down under the strain of overwork’
    • ‘I think a lot of doctors are vulnerable because of overwork and too much stress.’
    • ‘Independent research indicates that they live in extreme poverty and suffer stress and exhaustion from overwork and forced overtime.’
    • ‘Practitioners use ginseng as a tonic, primarily to treat patients who are worn-out, either from overwork, emotional stress, or old age.’
    • ‘Men suffering from overwork, tiredness and stress are less likely ‘to share family meals, to read, play and help children with homework, and to be involved in recreational activities or to do the shopping’.’
    • ‘All the muscles in her tiny body seemed to hurt; whether from overwork or fatigue she couldn't decipher.’