Definition of overwrite in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Write on top of (other writing)

    ‘many names had been scratched out or overwritten’
    • ‘And then I overwrite a 3 page decision with a phone list.’
    • ‘A 5th-cent. manuscript of these lectures, the most substantial legal work of the Principate to survive, was discovered in Verona in 1816 overwritten by later writing.’
    1. 1.1Computing Destroy (data) or the data in (a file) by entering new data in its place.
      ‘an entry stating who is allowed to overwrite the file’
      • ‘The software scrambles the file by overwriting the data with random characters that make it impossible to retrieve.’
      • ‘Write data segments stored in the first portion may be overwritten and the writing thereof to disk may be delayed according to a predetermined delayed writing policy.’
      • ‘Another flaw, also in Oracle Reports, could allow an attacker to overwrite files on the targeted server.’
      • ‘The attacks also used a controversial Internet Explorer feature that permits local HTML documents to create or overwrite files on a user's computer.’
      • ‘It wasn't going out to delete data or overwrite files.’
    2. 1.2
      another term for overtype
      • ‘The recipient can the either review the changes or overwrite the previous address card.’
      • ‘So it was a very ambitious thing, and sort of set the template for how we do the show now, which is just overwrite it, and boil it down and reduce it until we get the densest 32-page script we can.’
      • ‘It appears MSNBC simply overwrote the old story with the new one, using the exact same file name.’
      • ‘This way, when we type another word for search, the existing one will automatically be overwritten.’
  • 2Write too elaborately or ornately.

    ‘there is a tendency to overwrite their parts and fall into cliché’
    • ‘He has a tendency to overwrite and he gorges on gimmickry.’
    • ‘If I was proud of a phrase or a particular paragraph, well, my pride was probably a sign that I'd overwritten.’
    • ‘The sentence is an example of the author's tendency to overwrite, and to let his thoughts get obscured by mixed metaphors and convoluted syntax.’
    • ‘One suggested that it lacked ‘both the absolute verbal precision and slight tendency to overwriting that characterise much of his work’.’
    • ‘I do believe new writers have a tendency to overwrite and to overwrite really badly.’
    overwritten, extravagant, florid, grandiose, pompous, over-elaborate, flowery, overwrought, overripe, pretentious, high-flown, turgid, bombastic, oratorical, grandiloquent, magniloquent, orotund
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