Defined:  1: forming an arch overhead  2: dominating or embracing all else <overarching goals> It is an ADJECTIVE.  (Merriam-Webster Online.)

I heard this one on CNN.  SiriusXM is a great tool for vocabulary building!  But it is difficult to catalog words while driving.  When you are not operating machinery, log words into a small notebook or on index cards (like me!).  Look them up if you need to or just start using them!  If you are driving, hope that someone calls you so you can answer with the word at hand.  Hey, it’s a memory technique.

The context in which overarching was used in the CNN broadcast was political.  I believe it was along the lines of an “overarching investigation” having to do with the anniversary of an American embassy bombing. A sobering topic but all the better to gel the word in one’s mind.

Other usage examples might include an “overarching interest in ‘Dancing with the Stars.'”  If we live by the creed “everything in moderation,” we can see that overarching is almost obsessive in definition.  Obsession can be good and bad, depending on the duration and the result.  It can be short-sighted.  It can be all-encompassing.  Overarching might also have connotations of tenacity.  Do not confuse overarching with overreaching.  Overarching might equal all-encompassing while overreaching would mean going to far.

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Dictionary Definitions

1. Forming an arch overhead or above: overarching branches.  2. Extending over or throughout: “I am not sure whether the missing ingredient . . . is surprise or an overarching radiance” (John Simon).  (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.)

overall; all-encompassing an overarching concept  (Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003)

1. forming an arch above.  2. encompassing or overshadowing everything.  (Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.)


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