Definition of overdrive in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈōvərˌdrīv/


1A gear in a motor vehicle providing a gear ratio higher than that of the drive gear or top gear, so that engine speed and fuel consumption are reduced in highway travel.
Example sentences
  • It offers smooth shifts and a wide spread of ratios that ideally suit the engine's characteristics - including a tall overdrive fifth gear for quiet, efficient highway cruising.
  • The fifth gear is an overdrive ratio - very economic on longer runs - so the Tino reaches its maximum speed of 110 mph in fourth gear.
  • Unlike other six-speeders, this box doesn't provide an overdrive sixth gear that's pretty well useless at anything under 160 km/h.
1.1A state of high or excessive activity: the city’s worried public relations arm went into overdrive
More example sentences
  • I thought I was doing quite well until late yesterday evening it became clear that my heart was not at all happy with the heat, and I had an uncomfortable half hour while it went into overdrive in protest.
  • Throughout the latter part of the 1990's the markets surged ahead, generating untold wealth for some people as all stocks went into overdrive.
  • It's gone on for so long now that I really can't remember when it started, although I suppose that if I cast my mind back everything probably went into overdrive at the end of August.
1.2A mechanism that permits a higher than normal operating level in a piece of equipment, such as the amplifier of an electric guitar.
Example sentences
  • And I know, just know, as I stomp on the overdrive that it's going to be one of those perfect guitar solos, maybe the perfect solo.


[with object] (usually as adjective overdriven)
Drive or work to exhaustion: the overdriven mothers of ten or eleven hungry children
More example sentences
  • This is probably one source of the ‘hypnotic’ effect that people in this thread have mentioned - you're overdriving part of the brain, it seems.
  • Bruised and shaken, sweating like an overdriven horse, she imagined how pleasant it would be to lie down in the garbage and go to sleep.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: o·ver·drive

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