1. Resource consumed or lost in completing a process, that does not contribute directly to the end-product. Also called burden cost.
2. Accounting: A cost or expense (such as for administration, insurance, rent, and utility charges) that (1) relates to an operation or the companyas a whole, (2) does not become an integral part of a good or service (unlike raw material or direct labor), and (3) cannot be applied or traced to any specific unit of output. Overheads are indirect costs.
3. Data communications: Data bits added to user-transmitted data, for carrying routing information and error correcting and operational instructions.