The Meaning of 오버하다 [obeohada] in Korean

The Meaning of 오버하다 [obeohada] in Korean


The more exposure you have to K-pop songs (Korean songs) and K-dramas (Korean dramas), the more you will come across colloquial phrases that you can’t learn from textbooks.

In this post, we’ll learn a colloquial word “오버하다” that Korean speakers use in daily life.


오버하다 [obeohada] originates from English word “over”; it’s a borrowed word (also called a loanword). Let’s break it down for ease of understanding. 오버하다 comprises two words: 오버 [obeo] is the Korean “over,” and 하다 [hada] is the most common verb,  “to do.”  The literal translation, therefore, is “to do over.”

ref. The Most Blessed Verb “하다 [hada]”

ref. Noun + / 하다: A Versatile Verb Form Meaning “to do + Noun”

Can you guess the meaning of it? Let’s go over the dialogue first.

A: 우와, 그 드레스 예쁘다! [uwa geu deureseu yebbeuda]

Wow, what a beautiful dress!

B: 나한테 잘 어울려? [nahante jal eoulryeo]

Do I look good in it?

A: 영화배우 같아! [yeonghwabeu gata]

You look like a movie star!

B: 야, 오버하지마 😉  [ya obeohajima]

Hey, ??

Word List   
그 [geu]the드레스 [deureseu]dress
예쁘다 [yebbeuda]beautiful, pretty나 [na]I, me
잘 어울리다 [jal eoulrida]to look good on영화배우 [yeonghwabeu]movie star
같다 [gatda]to look like


Here 오버하지마 [obeohajima] would be equivalent to “Don’t exaggerate!” That might help you start to get the hang of this word.

In summary, 오버하다 has the meanings below.

  1. to be over the top
  2. to go overboard

Overall, it can express excessive exaggeration in doing or talking about something.  Now let’s look at some example sentences for practice.

① 너 오버했어.

[neo obeohesseo]

You went overboard.

② 너 조금 오버한 것 같아.

[neo jogeum obeohan geot gata]

I think you went a little overboard.

③ 너 조금 오버하는 것 같아.

[ne jogeum obeohaneun geot gata]

I think you’re going a little overboard.

④ 걔 행동 좀 오버였어.

[gye hengdong jom obeoyeosseo]

His behavior was way over the top.

 그 정장 좀 오버야! 캐주얼하게 입으라고 했잖아.

[geu jeongjang jom obeoya kejueolhage ibeurago hetjana]

The suit is way over the top! I said dress casual.

Word List   
너 [neo]you조금 [jogeum]a little
행동 [hengdong]behavior그 [geu]the
정장 [jeongjang]suit캐주얼하다 [kejueolhada]casual
입다 [ipda]to wear


If you find 오버하다 in a dictionary, you’ll see it defined as “to overdo.” Be careful: 오버하다 is the casual and informal expression. But you shouldn’t use it in formal situations.

By the way, what is the polite and formal phrase for “to overdo” in Korean?

1. 선을 넘다 [seoneul neomda]: Interestingly, it’s the same figurative expression as “to cross the line.”

ref. Common Korean Metaphors and Figurative Expressions 1

①  선을 넘은 것 같아요.

[seoneul neomeun geot gatayo]

I think you crossed the line.

② 그 말은 선을 넘은 것 같아요.

[geu mareun seoneul neomeun geot gatayo]

I think you crossed the line with that remark (statement).

Word List   
선 [seon]line을 [eul](consonant +) object marker
넘다 [neomda]to cross그 [geu]the
말 [mal]word, remark은 [eun](consonant +) topic marker


2. 무리하다 [murihada]: to overdo

① 최선을 다하되, 무리하지는 마세요.

[chweseoneul dahadwe murihajineun maseyo]

Do your best, but don’t overdo it.

② 오늘 너무 무리해서 일했어요.

[oneul neomu muriheseo ilhesseoyo]

I overdid it today at work.

③ 운동 무리하면 위험할 수 있어요.

[undong murihamyeon wiheomhal su isseoyo]

If you overdo working out, it can be dangerous.

Word List   
최선을 다하다 [chweseoneul dahada]to do one's best무리하다 [murihada]to overdo
오늘 [oneul]today너무 [neomu]so, too, very
일하다 [ilhada]to work운동 [undong]workout, exercise
위험하다 [wiheomhada]dangerous



“오버하다 : NAVER Korean English Dictionary”. NAVER Dictionary, 2018, Accessed 1 Aug 2018.