Looking Over “Over” Compounds

As I was collecting words, I noticed with surprise that a whole passel of “over-” compounds fell into the Uncommon category.  Overgrow, overhear, overjoyed, overpower, overrun, overshadow, overtake, overthrow, and overturn all made it into the Concordance.  That’s not all of the “over-” compounds in The Hobbit.  Overcome, overhang, overlook, and overwhelm are in the most common 10,000 words.  Still, I am intrigued.

We have time today to do another mini-exploration, so I will be updating the concordance entries of the “over-” compounds – you should be able to click on them or follow the “over-” tag to see what I learned by nightfall.

Update an hour later: all done.  The OED entry for the prefix “over-” is long, delightful, complex, and makes my heart sing at all the subtleties.  Excellent summer reading if you’re casting about for your next entertainment.

I recollect that the sentence “his linen socc fel oferbord and scranc” featured in an early lesson in my Old English class all those years ago – over- compounds are of great antiquity!

Overturn

Obviously here in Smaug’s lair, Tolkien means that the benches are toppled.  I am intrigues to learn that the word can also mean “rotate” as a wheel, to fall to grief or ruin, or to disorder a stomach.

  • 13.046 and benches were lying there overturned,

“overturn, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2015. Web. 14 July 2015.

Overthrow

While there’s the figurative meaning of casting one’s opponent out of a position of influence, there’s a less common literal meaning of throwing someone over onto their backside on the ground.  I’m certain both images work here.

  • 18.042 and the goblins overthrown,

“overthrow, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2015. Web. 14 July 2015.

Overrun

The strategists in the Battle of Five Armies plan to lead the goblins between the spurs of the mountain unless they are so numerous as to overrun the Mountain.  Here we have both the spatial sense of running over the surface to cover it and the superiority sense of being most powerful.

  • 17.045 to overrun the Mountain itself,

“overrun, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2015. Web. 14 July 2015.