It is from this video. It is at around 6 minute. Here is the context:

This happens because when blood and other fluids block your circulation the heart is forced in overtime.

The word overtime has a few meanings according to The Oxford Dictionary, and it seems to me none fits.

  • Note: I really, really wouldn't take medical advice from whoever phrased that sentence. Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 17:35
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    I think the narrator "misspoke". What he should have said (meant to say?) was the heart is forced into overdrive (note that he clearly says into, not in. Google Books has well over 2000 written instances of heart went into overdrive, but just 54 instances of heart went into overtime (which I don't think is a sensible figurative usage anyway, quite apart from the fact that it's not the "idiomatic standard"). Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


When certain employers require their workers to do more than 40 hours in a week, they are required to pay a higher wage, referred to as overtime. Employers do not like to pay 1.5 or 2 times the usual wage, so in most cases overtime happens only during extraordinary circumstances: when a big, time-sensitive job must be completed right away or when the business is short-staffed and has not been able to hire workers to meet its needs.

There is a sense, then, that workers doing overtime and overworked and frantically trying to get the job done to keep the business from going under. The word is often used in a more general context. When your circulation is blocked, the heart must work at a frantic pace, with an unusual load. It has to work overtime to keep you alive.

  • It seems a bit OTT to actually vote this down, but I don't see much point in "explaining" how this inappropriate metaphor is supposed to work. Apart from anything else, I don't think overtime particularly alludes to hard / energetic work in the cited context - the heart is always working anyway, so it's a bit meaningless to talk about it spending more time working. Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 17:44
  • We often use 'working overtime' to mean 'working harder than usual', especially when we are not talking literally about working at a paid job. Since my mother became sick, I have been working overtime looking after my little brother and studying. Commented Aug 26, 2018 at 17:51

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