Entries linking to overripe
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.
Old English ripe, of grain, fruit, seed, a field, "ready for reaping, mature," of animals used as food, "fit for eating," from West Germanic *ripijaz (source also of Old Saxon ripi, Middle Dutch ripe, Dutch rijp, Old High German rifi, German reif); related to Old English repan "to reap" (see reap).
Usually explained as "fit for reaping," in which case it would have been originally of grains and extended to all fruit. Figurative use by c. 1200. As "full-grown, developed, finished" (a ripe age) by late 14c. The meaning "ready for some action or effect" (as in the time is ripe) is from late 14c. Of lips, the mouth, "round and full, like ripe fruit," by 1580s. Related: Ripely. The proverb soon ripe, soon rotten is attested by 1540s.
updated on October 24, 2019