Meaning of “over” in the English Dictionary

"over" in British English

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uk /ˈəʊ.vər/ us /ˈoʊ.vɚ/

over preposition (HIGHER POSITION)

B1 above or higher than something else, sometimes so that one thing covers the other; above:

The sign over the door said "Exit".
She held the umbrella over both of us.
Helicopters dropped leaflets over the city.
I put my hands over my eyes/ears because I couldn't bear to watch/listen.
I couldn't hear what she was saying over the noise of the planes taking off (= the planes were louder than her voice).

More examples

  • He clamped his hand over her mouth.
  • Could you put some clingfilm over the salad?
  • The cart rumbled over the cobbles.
  • The trees' branches intertwined to form a dark roof over the path.
  • She pulled the duvet over her head to try to shut out the light.

over preposition (ACROSS)

B1 across from one side to the other, especially by going up and then down:

She jumped over the gate.
The road goes over the mountains, not through a tunnel.
She is always chatting with her neighbour over the garden fence.
From the top of the tower you could see for miles over the city.
Tanks travel over the most difficult ground.

More examples

  • We exchanged commonplaces about the weather over cups of tea.
  • She was staring out over the lake, lost in contemplation.
  • The contents of his bag spilled all over the floor.
  • It's difficult to track an animal over stony ground.
  • She rubbed sun lotion over her entire body.

over preposition (MORE THAN)

A2 more than:

Most of the carpets cost/are over $5,000.
Children over the age of twelve (= older than twelve) pay the full price.
I value quality of life over money.

A2 increasing to further than a particular limit or point:

They are already $25 million over budget.
over and above

in addition to:

They receive extra money over and above the usual welfare payments.

More examples

  • An adult under British law is someone over 18 years old.
  • The factory closed over ten years ago.
  • A freak whirlwind has destroyed over 20 caravans in west Wales.
  • The film has grossed over $200 million this year.
  • We were overtaken by a crowd of bikers doing over 90 mph.

over preposition (OTHER SIDE)

B1 on the other side of:

There's a bar over the road we could go to.
The story continues over the page.

More examples

  • We don't sell them, but you could try over the road in the hardware store.
  • There's a postbox just over the road.
  • I'd recommend the Buther's over the road.

over preposition (CONNECTED WITH)

C2 (referring to a cause of interest, worry, discussion, etc.) connected with or about:

There's no point in arguing over something so unimportant.
I need time to talk/think over your proposal (= to discuss/consider it carefully).
The legal battle was over who should have custody of the child.

More examples

  • There's no point arguing over it now.
  • They fell out over a trivial incident.
  • A legal battle is taking place over who owns the rights to the song.
  • She is taking the newspaper to court over the allegations.
  • There's no point crying over spilled milk.

over preposition (DURING)

B1 during something, or while doing something:

I was in Seattle over the summer.
Shall we discuss it over lunch/over a drink?
They took/spent an hour over lunch (= their meal lasted an hour).
It's fascinating to watch how a baby changes and develops over time (= as time passes).

More examples

  • Computer hacking has become very widespread over the last decade.
  • The improvement in water standards over the last 50 years has been very great.
  • This graph shows how crime has varied in relationship to unemployment over the last 20 years.
  • He works until nine o'clock every evening, and that's quite apart from the work he does over the weekend.
  • There has been a gradual improvement in our sales figures over the last two years.

over preposition (FEELING BETTER)

be/get over sth

More examples

  • Have you got over your little contretemps with the neighbour yet, or are you still not speaking?
  • Smith is still getting over a groin strain he sustained during training.
  • Doctors fear she may never completely get over the infection.
  • He's disappointed about not getting that job, he'll get over it.
  • He got over his injury more quickly than anyone was expecting.

to feel physically or mentally better after an illness or an upsetting experience:

It takes you a while to get over an illness like that.
His girlfriend broke up with him last year and he's not over her yet.
He's not fully recovered, but he's over the worst (= has experienced the worst stage of the illness and is now improving).

over preposition (CONTROL)

C2 in control of or teaching someone or something:

A good teacher has an easy authority over a class.
She's a sales manager but she has a regional sales director over (= with a higher rank than) her.
The victory over the French at Waterloo was Wellington's greatest triumph.

More examples

  • Colonel Sailing has command over the Guards Regiment.
  • The board concurred that the editor should have full control over editorial matters.
  • She's got no control over that child - it's terrible.
  • The Mogul dynasty ruled over India for centuries.
  • Italy had a comfortable three-goal lead over France by half-time.

over preposition (USING)

B2 using:

They spoke over the phone.
We heard the news over the radio.

More examples

  • Some software can be configured to prevent children from giving out their phone numbers over the internet.
  • I've accepted the job over the phone, but I haven't confirmed in writing yet.
  • I won't go into detail over the phone, but I've been having a few health problems recently.
  • Long-distance truck drivers often talk to each other over CB radio.
  • I bought the tickets over the internet.


uk /ˈəʊ.vər/ us /ˈoʊ.vɚ/

over adverb (DOWN)

from a higher to a lower position; down:

The lamp fell over and broke.
He was run/knocked over by a taxi.
UK The little boy fell over and started to cry.

over adverb (ACROSS)

B1 across; from one side or place to another:

She leaned over and kissed me.
A fighter plane flew over.
Why don't you come over (= come to my house) for dinner on Thursday?
A friend of mine from France is over visiting us this week (= a friend came from France and is staying with us).
Now we're going over to (= there will be a broadcast from) Wembley for commentary on the Cup Final.
Come over here - it's warmer.
Who's that man over there?

B2 used to describe the way an object moves or is moved so that a different part of it is facing up:

She turned another page over.
The dog rolled over onto its back.
The children rolled over and over (= turned over many times) down the gentle slope.

changing or exchanging position:

Would you mind changing/swapping those plates over?
She changed over to editing from marketing.
Why should we hand over the money to them?
I've done everything I can - now it's over to you (= it's your turn to take action).

More examples

  • He came rushing over when I fell.
  • Look both ways before you cross over.
  • She's been looking all over for you.
  • She leaned over and whispered something in his ear.
  • Our lawn is frosted over.

over adverb (HIGHER POSITION)

above or higher than something else, sometimes so that one thing covers the other:

A man came to paint over (= cover with paint) the cracks in the wall.

over adverb (MORE THAN)

A2 more than a particular amount or level:

People who are 65 years old and over can get half-price tickets.

More examples

  • An adult under British law is someone who is 18 or over.
  • At one time, worldwide sales of his books reached 180 million and over.
  • The warning signs specify that vehicles of that height or over cannot pass under the bridge.
  • You get a free gift if you spend £20 or over.
  • At the hottest time of year, they get temperatures of 40 and over.

over adverb (FINISHED)

B1 (especially of an event) finished:

I'll be glad when the competition is over.
I used to have a thriving business and a happy marriage, but that's all over now.
over and done with

C2 completely finished:

She gets unpleasant tasks over and done with as quickly as possible.

More examples

  • The party was over by midnight.
  • The game was effectively over before half-time.
  • A pitched battle between the two sets of fans developed on the terraces after the match was over.
  • Now that the war is over may there be a lasting peace between our nations.
  • Her exams are all over by the end of July.

over adverb (EXTRA)

extra; not used:

I have some euros left over from the last time I was in France.
UK When all the guests had gone, we realized there was lots of food over.

More examples

  • He made a stew from the meat and vegetables left over from yesterday's meal.
  • When the dress was finished she still had some material left over.
  • We've got six bottles of wine left over from the party.
  • Any paper that is left over will be recycled.
  • Was there any paint left over when you painted the bathroom?

over adverb (AGAIN)

US again or repeatedly:

You ruined it - now I'll have to do it over!

More examples

  • I lost the file with all my notes in, so I'm going to have to start over.
  • Because the results were wrong, he had to do the experiment over.
  • It's already taken me two hours - I don't want to have to do it all over.

over adverb (FINISHED TALKING)

said when you are talking to someone by radio, to mean that you have finished speaking and will wait for their answer:

"This is flight 595X. Do you read me? Over."
over and out

said when you are talking to someone by radio in order to end the conversation:

"Thank you, control tower. Over and out."

overnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈəʊ.vər/ us /ˈoʊ.vɚ/


uk /əʊ.vər-/ us /oʊ.vɚ-/

over- prefix (ACROSS)


Of course, the overland route is much slower than going by air.

over- prefix (HIGHER POSITION)


She was knocked off her bicycle by an overhanging branch.

(Definition of “over” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"over" in American English

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us /ˈoʊ·vər/

over preposition (ABOVE)

in, to, on, or at a position above or higher than something else, sometimes so that one thing covers the other; above:

The sign over the door said, "Private."
He put a sweater on over his shirt.
The horse jumped over the fence.
I couldn’t hear what she said over the sound of the music (= The music was louder than her voice).

over preposition (ACROSS)

across from one side to the other, esp. by going up and then down:

Once we get over the bridge we’ll stop for lunch.
She tripped over the rug.
The car went over the cliff (= across the edge of it).

Over also means on the other side of:

Their house is just over the river.

over preposition (MORE THAN)

more than:

Most of these rugs cost over $1000.
Children over 12 (= older than 12) pay full price.

If someone or something goes over a limit or point, it increases beyond it:

Construction costs are already $25 million over budget.

over preposition (CALCULATE)

mathematics infml divided by

over preposition (USING)

using a device such as a telephone:

They spoke over the phone.
We transfer files over the Internet.

over preposition (DURING)

during a period of time, or while doing something:

She made a lot of changes over the past six months.
Can we discuss this over lunch?

over preposition (AUTHORITY)

greater in authority, power, or position than:

Parents want to have control over their children.

over preposition (ABOUT)

about or connected with:

There’s no point in arguing over this.

over preposition (FINISHED)

(esp. of illness) no longer suffering from:

Is he over the flu yet?
His wife died last year and he’s still not over it.

overadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ˈoʊ·vər/

over adverb [ not gradable ] (DOWN)

from a higher to a lower position; down:

The little boy fell over and started to cry.

over adverb [ not gradable ] (AGAIN)

again or repeatedly:

You’ve ruined it – now I’ll have to do it over.

over adverb [ not gradable ] (ACROSS)

Over also describes the way an object moves or is moved so that a different part of it is facing up:

The dog rolled over onto its back.

overadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈoʊ·vər/

over adjective [ not gradable ] (FINISHED)

(esp. of an event) finished, completed, or ended:

I’ll be glad when the meeting is over.
The game was over by 5 o’clock.
I'm worried about the test, but at least it will be all over (= completely finished)in an hour.


us /ˌoʊ·vər/

over- prefix (MORE THAN)

too much or more than usual:

He’s always been an overachiever.

(Definition of “over” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"over" in Business English

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uk /ˈəʊvər/ us

more or greater than:

Free delivery on orders over $25.
Over 80% of temporary workers are part-timers.
The cable company has viewers in over 5 million households.
Shares fell by just over 1 per cent to 1,327p.

during a particular period of time:

The loan can be paid back in instalments over 12 months.
Sales went up 300% over only six weeks.
go over (sth)

to become or make something become greater than a particular limit of time, money, etc. :

These additional costs made the project go over.
Be prepared to go over budget.

(Definition of “over” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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