"Overshoot" to an explosive increase in the number of patients

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takashi0930

Senior Member
Japanese
The other day, an Japanese expert of infection used the word "overshoot" as a loanword from English. He means "an explosive increase in the number of people infected with the new coronavirus." I consulted several dictionaries, but I couldn't find that meaning of "overshoot," so I wanted to make sure it's not used like that in English. You (native English speakers) wouldn't use the word like that, would you?

I have checked several English news websites, and found that some used "overshoot" with quotation marks, which meams it's not a usual use of the word, and others used expressions such as "explosive jump" instead of "overshoot." What I want is confirmation from native English speakers.

Coronavirus steps working, but an ‘explosion’ of cases in sight : The Asahi Shimbun
If these trends continue in coming weeks, the experts warned it could lead to "overshoot," an explosion of coronavirus cases.

Experts to present views on anti-virus measures | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News
Experts on the panel say that Japan has kept the outbreak under control to a certain extent. But they warn that the virus continues to spread in some areas, and this could lead to a nationwide epidemic involving an explosive surge called "overshooting."

Abe urges continued caution as panel warns of 'explosive' jump in COVID-19 | The Japan Times
Abe urges continued caution as panel warns of 'explosive' jump in COVID-19
 
  • Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    If this is used, it's a technical term which would not be used by the general public. Normally, "overshoot" meand to aim beyond one's target; a virus has no target to aim at.

    "The plane overshot the runway... Your arrow has overshot by several metres..."
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Explosive jump" is fine and would be readily understood by English speakers; the quotation marks around "explosive" seem unnecessary to me. "Overshoot" is not used like this. It is a word, but it means something completely different, as Keith says, and I have not seen this use in any British or American source.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The verb "to overshoot" needs a subject, and the subject must be an intelligence: that is, a person.

    As post #2 says, this person is trying to reach a target, but has missed it by the projectile (bullet, arrow, car, airplane) going past the target.

    Perhaps some charities have said "our target was 1 million yen, but we overshot that target, receiving 1.5 million yen in donations". If so, the "loanword" might take on this "more than expected" meaning, in Japanese. That's just a guess.
     

    takashi0930

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you, everyone. :)

    If this is used, it's a technical term which would not be used by the general public.
    I searched "overshoot" plus "virus" on PubMed, the large database for medical articles.
    I got only 35 hits. I opened the link for the first 10, but apparently, "overshoot" isn't used to mean "an explosive increase in the number of people infected with a virus" in any of them. So I guess it's not a medical term meaning it, either. :)
     
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