also over-population, "excess of population," 1807, from over- + population. Malthus (1798) had over-populousness.
Entries linking to overpopulation
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.), oversmall (mid-13c.), overshort, etc.
1610s, "whole number of inhabitants in a country, state, county, town, etc," from Late Latin populationem (nominative populatio) "a people; a multitude," as if from Latin populus "a people" (see people (n.)). From 1776 as "act or process of peopling" (a country, etc.). Population explosion "rapid or sudden increase in the size of a population" is attested by 1953.
updated on October 24, 2019
Dictionary entries near overpopulation