early 14c., overrechen, "to reach or rise above or beyond" (transitive), from over- + reach (v.). Meaning "to extend out over something, to cover" is from c. 1400. Sense of "to reach beyond one's strength, reach or stretch too far" is from 1560s. As a noun, "too great a reach," from 1550s; in the sense of "an act of overreaching," 1610s. Related: Overreached; overreaching.