Mighty Red Pen

September 14, 2008

Shh, pass it along

Filed under: Overseen — mighty red pen @ 8:18 pm
Tags: ,

Overseen in a high school bulletin:


Please be sure to bring your secret decoder rings so we can read what you wrote.



  1. So does it appear as a blank square on a random page in the yearbook?

    Comment by Kasey — September 15, 2008 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  2. I’ve been trying to understand this use of “overseen.” How is it different from “seen”?

    Comment by Fritinancy — September 15, 2008 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

  3. @Fritinancy, it’s roughly the visual equivalent of “overheard,” so to me different in the way that “heard” and “overheard” are different. Possibly I’m splitting hairs …

    Comment by mighty red pen — September 15, 2008 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  4. I agree. Overseen is like seeing something you weren’t necessarily meant to see.

    Comment by Kasey — September 16, 2008 @ 2:33 pm | Reply

  5. I’ve caught myself using “overseen” when “seen” would work just as well. I think I do it to distance myself from what I used to hear a lot as a kid — “I seen Cindy at the store today.” “I seen yous at the ballgame.”

    Comment by helen's dad — September 17, 2008 @ 5:55 pm | Reply

  6. I always thought “overseen” was a joke, creating a word to parallel “overheard.”

    But most of the times people use it, it’s in a situation in which there’s no reason NOT to see it. I mean, a sign is there to be seen; they can’t be overseen, anymore than a P.A. announcement can’t be overheard.

    A conversation can be overheard, so a colleague’s e-mail or the fellow-commuter’s newspaper could be “overseen.” An interoffice memo could be overseen by someone who doesn’t work there.

    Comment by TootsNYC — September 18, 2008 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

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