to overpeer - Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice)

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Senior Member

I am currently struggling to understand that sentence: "Do overpeer the petty traffickers".
I need your help. Is it archaic? I never heard "overpeer" before...

Thank you so much.
  • misterk

    Several online English dictionaries give the definition of "overpeer" as:
    to rise or tower above; to peer over, or look down on

    And yes, it is marked as "archaic".


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It would be helpful to have more of the context. This is Salerio talking to Antonio in Act 1, Scene 1:

    Your mind is tossing on the ocean;
    There, where your argosies, with portly sail ...
    Do overpeer the petty traffickers,
    That curt'sy to them, do them reverence ...
    The ships (argosies) look over (overpeer) the little merchants (petty traffickers). Yes, overpeer would be very unusual in today's English.
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