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Coveralls Vs. Overalls: Meaning And When To Use Each One

Coveralls Vs. Overalls: Meaning And When To Use Each One

What garment do you wear when working to protect your regular clothes? Do you wear coveralls or overalls? There is always confusion between these two words among many people, but knowing the basics of coveralls vs. overalls makes it easy to know how to use the words.

Coveralls are loose-fitting clothes worn over regular clothes to protect them from soiling. In contrast, overalls/dungarees are loose-fitting trousers with supportive cross-straps and a bib on the chest often used during work. Their difference is that coveralls are extended forms of overalls.

Coveralls and overalls are protective garments used in various industries to protect regular clothes. However, they are not the same. Read on to discover the words' definitions, when to use each term, and their differences.

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Definitions Of Coveralls And Overalls

Definitions are the key to differentiating English words and terms because they give you a basis for the differences. Meanings also put the words in context and highlight the elements that differentiate them. Here are the definitions of coveralls and overalls.

Definition Of Coveralls

Coveralls are one-piece protective garments worn for heavy manual work in various industries, like engineering, farming, medicine, and firefighting.

Some industries use coveralls to protect from the cold or breathability in extreme temperatures. Additionally, they are worn in hazardous environments. Coveralls have extended arms and a zipper in the front for easy access when wearing and removing them.

The first pair of coveralls came up at the beginning of World War 11, where they were worn as in-flight suits by the military. Since then, coveralls have infiltrated several other industries.

Definition Of Overalls

Overalls are loose-fitting pants with adjustable suspenders connected to a bib at the front and back. They were among the first work garments designed in the United States.

The first pair of overalls was manufactured in 1889 by United States' Carhartt for railroad workers. This workwear consists of denim or cotton, and its unique features are; durability, comfort, functionality, and safety.

While they were initially designed for workers, overalls gained popularity as a fashion statement in the 1960s and 70s. Thus, manufacturers adopted more colorful and aesthetically pleasing materials and embellishments for their designs. Despite their popularity in the fashion industry, their primary application remains in work environments.

How To Properly Use Coveralls And Overalls In A Sentence

These words are pretty easy to use in sentences if you know the basic rules of sentence construction in English. Below are some guidelines;

How To Use Coveralls

The word "coveralls" is a common noun. Therefore, you can use it as the subject, a direct or indirect object in a sentence. For instance, when using it as a sentence subject, it should be followed by a verb. For example, "The coveralls made the employers happy."

As a direct object, the word "coveralls" receives the action performed by the sentence subject. For example, "The workers washed the coveralls after working all day."

As an indirect object, the word "coveralls" is the recipient of a direct object. For instance, "Jane sewed the buttons on the coveralls after they broke." Another thing you should know about proper nouns is that you do not need to capitalize them unless they appear at the beginning of your sentence.

How To Use Overalls

The word "overalls" is also a common noun. Therefore, the basic rules for using it in a sentence are similar to those of "coveralls."

So, you can use it as the sentence subject (The overalls are the best fashion item in my closet) or a direct object (You should pack the overalls for the trip). Also, use the word as an indirect object (Mercy recovered the straps for the overalls).

Note that there is a difference between "overall" and "overalls." Overall means "from one end to the other, comprehensive, or general." Whereas "overalls" is a type of garment. Therefore, this word does not have a singular form when referring to the garment, just like in the word "pants." In contrast, "overall," the synonym for comprehensive, does not have a plural form of the same meaning.

Examples Of Coveralls And Overalls Use In Sentences

Now that you know how to use these words in sentences, it helps to look at some examples. Here are the sentence examples of coveralls and overalls.

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Example sentences of coveralls

  1. The government demands that all pharmaceutical employees wear coveralls for safety.
  2. Jane was saved from the fire because she wore fire-retardant coveralls.
  3. Mercy spent thousands of dollars on coveralls for her employees to avoid injury and malpractice lawsuits.
  4. The factory manager will not allow you inside the facility if you do not wear the coveralls.
  5. Sandy made a fashion statement when she walked on the red carpet in neon coveralls with printed political words.

Example sentences of overalls

  1. The overalls are no longer limited to farmwork applications.
  2. I should wear a good pair of overalls with my denim boots and leather jacket.
  3. The Senator made headlines when he stated that all students should start wearing overalls to school when taking shop classes.
  4. The Texan students celebrated independence day by wearing overalls to school.
  5. Mr. Owens made his scarecrow look realistic and scarier by dressing it in filthy overalls and farm boots.

Coveralls vs. Overalls: What Do They Have In Common?

Coveralls and overalls often confuse people because they have so much in common. For instance, they are both protective garments built for comfort, protection, and functionality.

Another similarity is that they are worn over regular clothes for protection. Also, both have pants that extend to the shoes and are loose-fitting.

Finally, both garments have varying qualities depending on where they are applied. For instance, overalls and coveralls for factory workers have highly-visible and flame retardant materials. In contrast, those used in agriculture have durable fabrics like cotton and denim.

Coveralls vs. Overalls: What Are Their Differences?

Their primary difference is that coveralls cover the wearer's shoulders and arms, while overalls have two straps that connect to the back and front bibs instead of arms. Thus, overalls offer less protection than coveralls to the upper body.

Also, coveralls typically have a zip at the front, while overalls have a bib with adjustable suspenders instead. Another difference is that coveralls can be made from cloth or disposable materials, while overalls consist of denim or cotton.

Coveralls used for protection against hazardous elements, like contaminants in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, are designed for one-time use. Therefore, they have polypropylene materials instead of cloth. However, some designs, like those used by mechanics, are made from cloth for easy cleaning and reusing.

Also, coveralls are ideal for the medical, pharmaceutical, oil and gas manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and auto industries. This is because of their increased protective elements. On the other hand, overalls are ideal for all manual work like painting, farming, and carpentry, because of their durability and comfort.

Note that overalls are not only protective garments but a fashion statement, while coveralls are limited to manual work applications. Thus, many people wear overalls for fashion instead of working, while coveralls are yet to make a significant appearance in the fashion world.


Overalls and coveralls are protective garments you can wear when working or as a fashion statement. Their primary difference is that overalls do not have arms and shoulders like coveralls. They also differ slightly in their applications as coveralls are more protective than overalls. Now that you know their differences and similarities, you can confidently decide which term to use in your context. Understanding overalls vs. coveralls also enables you to make the correct purchase decision.