The Meaning of OD: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of OD? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the abbreviation OD, including its definition, usage, examples, and more!

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What does the acronym OD mean?

According to AOA and Dictionary as well as American Heritage, the term OD can either mean overdose of a drug or doctor of optometry. The word od is also a word meaning some hypothetical force that was formerly held to pervade all nature and to manifest itself in the natural phenomena of magnetism, mesmerism, hypnotism, chemical action. This archaic word for such phenomena was coined by the German scientist Baron Karl von Reichenbach and is an arbitrary name invented between 1940-1950. The word od was also used in mild oaths as an archaic British term for God. A doctor of optometry can check your eyesight, provide you with an eyeglass prescription as a plus or minus, check you for astigmatism which is described as an axis, examine the cornea, provide contact lenses or eyeglasses, and more in the way of medical advice. This shorthand is similar to MD or DDS. Astigmatism is denoted by CYL for cylinder and sphere, or SPH tells you how powerful your prescription needs to be. ADD is the power needed for bifocals or progressives.

A drug overdose is a very serious reaction to a mix of substances. According to Addiction Center, this is a biological response to when the human body receives too much of a substance. This can be accidental or intentional. People can overside on many different things, including licit drugs, alcohol, prescription medications, and many other substances. Overdoses are often fatal but many individuals that have overdosed can be saved with proper treatment. Different types of drugs cause different types of overdoses.

Depressant overdoses affect the central nervous system. These include opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol. These drugs lower blood pressure and body temperature, and slow the heart rate and breathing. This causes a sedative effect, and when these high dses occur, so can the adverse side effects, such as respiratory failure, overdose, coma or even death. Opioids can also lead to an overdose. The body contains opioid receptors in several different areas, including the brain, central and peripheral nervous systems, and the gastrointestinal tract. When the receptors are activated by an opioid, they are blocked and can’t perform other functions. This can make people overdose by not letting them breathe or not letting their nervous systems function. Alcohol overdose occurs when a person drinks more than their body can process, which is generally one unit of pure alcohol per hour, which is estimated to be the amount of alcohol in a small shot of liquor, a half pint of beer, or a third of a glass of wine. If someone drinks faster than this, they cannot metabolize the alcohol fast enough, which leads to alcohol poisoning. These symptoms include vomiting, seizures, mental confusion, slow breathing, irregular breathing, paleness, hypothermia, and a blue skin color. However, opioid-involved overdose deaths did rise from 21,088 in 2010 to 47,600 in 2017 and later remained steady in 2018 with 46,802 deaths. This was followed by a significant increase from 2018 to 2019 to 49,860 overdose deaths.

In 2019 over 70,000 Americans died from drug-involved overdose. According to Drug Abuse. This is nearly double the deaths from drug involved overdoses in 2010. Overall, drug overdose deaths rose from 2018 to 2019 with 70,630 drug overdose deaths reported in 2019. The most common overdose was synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl). Overdoses involving psychostimulants with abuse potential (primarily methamphetamine) also continued to increase. 

According to The Free Dictionary, the slang term OD can stand for much more than just overdose or doctor of optometry. This acronym has many other potential unique definitions. While these other various possible meanings of the acronym are still valid, they are less common than video on demand and should therefore be used sparingly. If you do decide to use one of these alternate meanings, make sure that you provide the reader with the proper context so that they can infer the correct intended meaning. This should be standard practice with any acronym that has more than one potential definition.

  •  Overdraft (banking)
  •  Opportunistic Disease
  •  Overdosed (gaming clan)
  •  Organizational Diagnosis
  •  Organizational Development
  •  Ordnance Documentation
  •  Orbit Determination
  •  outside dimension
  •  Operational Day (scientific experimentation and data recording)
  •  Office of the Dean
  •  Operations Directive
  •  Olive Drab
  •  One Direction (band)
  •  Ordnance
  •  Once Daily (medical)
  •  Optical Disk
  •  Operating Division
  •  Outside Discussions
  •  Officer Down
  •  On Demand
  •  Operational Downlink
  •  Orally Disintegrating (medicine)
  •  Output Data
  •  Oxígeno Disuelto (Spanish: Dissolved Oxygen)
  •  Operand Decomposition (algorithm)
  •  Overseas Department
  •  Orde Dienst (Dutch: Order of Service)
  •  Occupation Double (French TV show)
  •  Out of Desperation
  •  Open Drain (electronics)
  •  Of Distinction
  •  Office Depot
  •  Order Date
  •  Open Detonation (outdoor munitions disposal regulation)
  •  Object Domain
  •  Overshoot Detector
  •  Open Dealer (various companies)
  •  Oscuro Destiny (website)
  •  Orderly Duty
  •  Off-Duty
  •  Ordnance Data
  •  Over Drive
  •  Open Diary (website)
  •  Offsite Dose
  •  Origin – Destination
  •  Organizational Design
  •  Oh Dear
  •  Operations Division
  •  Orthogonal Design
  •  Latin Oculus Dexter (Right Eye vs OS – Oculus Sinister – Left Eye)
  •  Optical Density
  •  Outside Dose (radiation exposure)
  •  Oil Distribution
  •  Offense Defense (sports)
  •  Oxygen Depleted
  •  Omni Dei (once a day)
  •  over damage (gaming)
  •  Ordinary Seaman (Canadian Navy)
  •  Oven Dried Solid
  •  Occupational Disease
  •  Organization Development
  •  Organic Data
  •  Officer of the Day
  •  Overdue
  •  Official Declaration
  •  Osteochondritis Dissecans
  •  Outside Diameter (cylinder or pipe)
  •  Office of the Director (NIH)
  •  Orthodromic
  •  Original Dissent (conservative website)
  •  Operations Director
  •  Opus Dei (Latin: Work of God)
  •  Overcurrent Detection
  •  Open Doors
  •  Observable Difference
  •  Office of Disability (Social Security)
  •  Opioid Dependent

Overall, OD can either stand for doctor of optometry or overdose. 


  1. OD – What does OD stand for? | The Free Dictionary 
  2. Od Definition & Meaning | Dictionary 
  3. What’s a doctor of optometry? | AOA 
  4. Overdose: What Is It and How Does It Happen? | Addiction Center 
  5. Overdose Death Rates | Drug Abuse