Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English overgangen, from Old English ofergangan (to pass over, beyond, across, traverse, cross, transgress, overstep, overrun, overcome, overspread, conquer, come upon, overtake, seize, attack, pass off, pass away, end, overreach), from Proto-Germanic *uber (over) + *ganganą (to walk, step), equivalent to over- +‎ gang (to walk, step). Cognate with Scots owergang (to overwhelm, master, dominate).


overgang (third-person singular simple present overgangs, present participle overganging, simple past and past participle overganged)

  1. (transitive, dialectal or obsolete) To go beyond or above; to exceed.
    • c. 1600, unknown author, "Proud Lady Margaret":
      Ye're straight and tall, handsome withall, But your pride overgangs your wit
    • c. 1650, unknown author, Eger and Grime
      But at the last it will overgang, Suppose that many think it lang.
    • 1917, Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr, Christine, a Fife fisher girl, page 21:
      "The trouble is overganging the profit. Read us one o' King David's psalms or canticles, then we'll go to our sleep wi' a song in our hearts."
    • 1981, Christina Larner, Enemies of God: the witch-hunt in Scotland, page 97:
      Less dramatically, but packed with economic menace, Elizabeth Bathgate told George Sprot, 'for work what you can your teeth shall overgang your hands and ye shall never get your Sundays meat to the fore.'

Derived termsEdit

  • overganger

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English *overgang, from Old English ofergang (a going across), equivalent to over- +‎ gang.


overgang (plural overgangs)

  1. (transitive, dialectal or obsolete) Something that goes across or over; a transition.
    • 1587, Lord Robert of Orkney, "A renunciation" quoted in Notes on Orkney and Zetland, Alexander Peterkin, page 127:
      [...] all such udall lands, quoy lands, and others, as was evictit frae them be his Lordship's courts of perambulation, and overgangs, holden upon the lands of the same and divers places thereof, mentioned most specially in his Lordship's court-books, he renounced the same accordingly.
    • 1883, George Stephens, Prof: S. Bugge's studies on Northern mythology shortly examined:
      Sometimes we can put our finger direct on the overgang.
    • 1892, Quarter Sessions Records of the Peace (Yorkshire North Riding), volume 9, page 249:
      [...] the preservation of adequate or established footpaths, the creation of new stiles or overgangs, in aid of the same object, in the fences required in the process of inclosure, and so forth.
    • 1990, Dolores Warwick Frese, "Wulf and Eadwacer: The Adulterous Woman Reconsidered" in New Readings on Women in Old English Literature, page 283:
      Its palmbranch logo - "the earliest Christian symbol of triumph over death - and the "still half-Scandian dialect in 12 lines of stave-rime verse" all "announce the overgang from heathendom."



  1. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) Being, pertaining to or marked with transitional runes.
    • 1871, George Stephens, Some Account of Scandinavian Runic Stones, in Archaeologia: Or Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquity, page 112:
      I first identified it on the overgang (transitional, Old-Northern mixed with Scandinavian runic letters,) stone at Vordingborg, Denmark, engraved and translated at pp. 336-7 []
    • 1884, George Stephens et al, The Old-northern Runic Monuments of Scandinavia and England:
      It was, as I have said under 'Raefsar', Mr. Brusewitz who first suspected that this might be an overgang stone, a hint so happily followed up by Dr. Charles Dickson.
    • 1884, George Stephens, Handbook of the old-northern runic monument of Scandinavia:
      On the rim of the Chalice is an overgang-alphabet of 21 letters, of which only 2 are distinctively later or Scandinavian.
    • 1894, George Stephens, The Runes, Whence Came They?, page 65:
      Thus an overgang block. 208. Molde, Gotland, Sweden. The later runes. The name of the Builder. Cannot be further dated.



From over +‎ gang. Related to overgaan.



overgang m (plural overgangen, diminutive overgangetje n)

  1. transition
  2. menopause

Derived termsEdit

Last modified on 12 April 2014, at 09:54