Entries linking to overconfidence
word-forming element meaning variously "above; highest; across; higher in power or authority; too much; above normal; outer; beyond in time, too long," from Old English ofer (from PIE root *uper "over"). Over and its Germanic relations were widely used as prefixes, and sometimes could be used with negative force. This is rare in Modern English, but compare Gothic ufarmunnon "to forget," ufar-swaran "to swear falsely;" Old English ofercræft "fraud."
In some of its uses, moreover, over is a movable element, which can be prefixed at will to almost any verb or adjective of suitable sense, as freely as an adjective can be placed before a substantive or an adverb before an adjective. [OED]
Among the old words not now existing are Old English oferlufu (Middle English oferlufe), literally "over-love," hence "excessive or immoderate love." Over- in Middle English also could carry a sense of "too little, below normal," as in over-lyght "of too little weight" (c. 1400), overlitel "too small" (mid-14c.), overshort, etc.
c. 1400, "assurance or belief in the good will, veracity, etc. of another," from Old French confidence or directly from Latin confidentia, from confidentem (nominative confidens) "firmly trusting, bold," present participle of confidere "to have full trust or reliance," from assimilated form of com, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + fidere "to trust" (from PIE root *bheidh- "to trust, confide, persuade").
From mid-15c. as "reliance on one's own powers, resources, or circumstances, self-assurance." Meaning "certainty of a proposition or assertion, sureness with regard to a fact" is from 1550s. Meaning "a secret, a private communication" is from 1590s. The connection with swindling (see con (adj.)) dates to mid-19c. and comes from the notion of the false "trustworthiness" which is the key to the game.
updated on October 24, 2019