I saw both over think and overthink are used. Are they correct? Is overthink preferable or I can use no matter which one?

  • It's mostly personal opinion. "Overthink" is in the dictionary, so you could use either.
    – Andrew
    Nov 14, 2018 at 20:19
  • 1
    Over think doesn't make any sense in most of the contexts I can think of. As two words, it means think on top of or replace one thought with another. Only overthink means to think more than you should about something. Nov 14, 2018 at 20:43
  • Don't overthink the problem, but I'll note that I don't recall ever seeing it as "over think"... Nov 14, 2018 at 20:45

2 Answers 2


My first instinct was that over- is a prefix and would not normally be spelled separately. Here's what Dictionary.com has to say on the matter:

a prefixal use of over, preposition, adverb, or adjective, occurring in various senses in compounds (overboard; overcoat; overhang; overlap; overlord; overrun; overthrow), and especially employed, with the sense of “over the limit,” “to excess,” “too much,” “too,” to form verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and nouns (overact; overcapitalize; overcrowd; overfull; overmuch; oversupply; overweight), and many others, mostly self-explanatory: a hyphen, which is commonly absent from old or well-established formations, is sometimes used in new coinages or in any words whose component parts it may be desirable to set off distinctly.

And for overthink

verb -thinks, -thinking or -thought
to spend more time thinking about something than is necessary or productive

And as @Jason Bassford points out, the meaning could change if you separate them (in this, or other cases). So I recommend writing them together: overthink.


Overthink is the correct way to spell it, but nobody would be confused by what you meant if you split them into separate words. Most English language spellcheckers would correct you for not using "overthink" though.

  • 1
    Because over think is wrong. Nov 14, 2018 at 21:34

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