over, above

Quick Summary

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The prefix hyper- means “over.” Examples using this prefix include hyperventilate and hypersensitive. An easy way to remember that the prefix hyper- means “over” is through the word hyperactive, which describes a person who is “overly” active in some way.

Overly Hyper! Whoa!

Prefixes are key morphemes in English vocabulary that begin words. The prefix hyper- means “over;” today we will thoroughly go “over” the prefix hyper-!

The prefix hyper-, which means “over,” is often used by itself; if you say that someone is being hyper, you mean that he is “overdoing” something, or that he is either high-strung or “overly” excitable. Someone who is hyperactive acts “overly” active, making things she does excessive in some way.

Marketers tend to use hyperbole to “overly” emphasize how great a product is that they are selling, hence being “overly” praiseworthy of something that maybe isn’t all that great once you take a closer look. Talking in such an exaggerated fashion can lead to hype of that product, which is talking “over” much about it to generate public interest.

Various medical conditions use the prefix hyper-, which means “over.” Someone who is suffering from hyperthermia has a body temperature that is significantly “over” the normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Someone who suffers from hypertension has blood pressure that is “overly” high. A hyperventilating patient breathes “over” the normal rate, producing excessive amounts of carbon dioxide. And the person who is hypersensitive is “overly” sensitive about issues that most people would relax about, and hence is quickly offended.

I hope that you aren’t going to be hypercritical or “overly” critical about this podcast concerning the prefix hyper-, for I was hyperattentive when writing it!

  1. hyper: ‘overexcited’
  2. hyperactive: ‘overly’ active
  3. hyperbole: ‘overly’ praising something
  4. hype: ‘overly’ publicizing something to promote a lot of public interest
  5. hyperthermia: condition of having a body temperature that is ‘over’ the normal
  6. hypertension: blood pressure that is considerably ‘over’ the normal
  7. hyperventilate: to breathe ‘over’ the normal rate
  8. hypersensitive: of feeling ‘overly’ emotional
  9. hypercritical: ‘overly’ critical


  • hyperbole

    Hyperbole is a way of emphasizing something that makes it sound much more impressive or much worse than it actually is.

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