The Cambridge dictionary defines the word "overview" only as a noun!

Is the use of this word as a verb also acceptable? For example, in a scientific paper presenting an overview in a sentence like: "in this paper we overview..."?

  • Acceptable in what context? In a scientific paper?
    – MetaEd
    Oct 11, 2017 at 16:00
  • @MetaEd especially, yes. Oct 11, 2017 at 16:29
  • 2
    We can't answer domain- and especially institution-specific acceptability requests. All we can say is that here, the verb usage is listed in some but not other reputable dictionaries, meaning almost certainly that it's on the verge of being accepted as a word. But you yourself could have discovered this. Whether the University of Camelot find it acceptable: there's an obvious way to find out. Oct 11, 2017 at 16:44

2 Answers 2


Try more than one dictionary. Oxford includes a definition for both noun and verb, the latter being

Give a general review or summary of.
‘the report overviews the needs of the community’

You can also try OneLook Dictionary Search, whose main screen for overview provides direct links to over two dozen other references’ definitions of the word. Granted, several of the better dictionaries there don’t contain a verb meaning.

Last, if one resource consistently fails you, you might wish to change your default or go-to reference.


Given the history of the word, and the 1977 quote from the Canadian Journal of Linguistics, my battle against the use of "to overview" is lost.

It is suitable for an academic paper.


Overview (v.):

  1. transitive. Originally: to look through or over; to examine, inspect, or peruse. Now chiefly figurative: to review, summarize, take an overview of.

1549 T. Chaloner tr. Erasmus Praise of Folie sig. Lij How they are faine to writhe their wittes in and out..in oueruewyng it againe.

1977 Canadian Journal of Linguistics 1976 21 i. 17 The interplay of physiological-cognitive factors with respect to early speech perception and production has been critically overviewed by Gilbert (1975).

1994 Internet World July 106/3 They spend 50 pages overviewing what resources are accessible through the Internet.

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