Entries linking to overweight
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.
Old English gewiht "weighing, weight, downward force of a body, heaviness," from Proto-Germanic *wihti- (source also of Old Norse vætt, Danish vegt, Old Frisian wicht, Middle Dutch gewicht, German Gewicht), from *weg- (see weigh).
Figurative sense of "burden" is late 14c. To lose weight "get thinner" is recorded from 1961. Weight Watcher as a trademark name dates from 1960. To pull one's weight (1921) is from rowing. To throw (one's) weight around figuratively is by 1922. Weight-training is from 1945. Weight-lifting is from 1885; weight-lifter (human) from 1893.
updated on September 21, 2012