over·​come | \ˌō-vər-ˈkəm \
overcame\ˌō-​vər-​ˈkām \; overcome; overcoming

Definition of overcome 

transitive verb

1 : to get the better of : surmount overcome difficulties They overcame the enemy.

2 : overwhelm were overcome by the heat and smoke

intransitive verb

: to gain the superiority : win strong in the faith that truth would overcome

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Other Words from overcome

overcomer noun

Choose the Right Synonym for overcome

conquer, vanquish, defeat, subdue, reduce, overcome, overthrow mean to get the better of by force or strategy. conquer implies gaining mastery of. Caesar conquered Gaul vanquish implies a complete overpowering. vanquished the enemy and ended the war defeat does not imply the finality or completeness of vanquish which it otherwise equals. the Confederates defeated the Union forces at Manassas subdue implies a defeating and suppression. subdued the native tribes after years of fighting reduce implies a forcing to capitulate or surrender. the city was reduced after a month-long siege overcome suggests getting the better of with difficulty or after hard struggle. overcame a host of bureaucratic roadblocks overthrow stresses the bringing down or destruction of existing power. violently overthrew the old regime

Examples of overcome in a Sentence

After a tough battle, they overcame the enemy. a story about overcoming adversity She overcame a leg injury and is back running again.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Companies have gotten creative to overcome the technological hurdles, with mixed success. Troy Farah, Discover Magazine, "The Web, Worldwide," 19 Oct. 2018 Holloway was overcome by tears as his team convinced him not to fight, the injury tentatively classified as sub-concussive. Lance Pugmire, latimes.com, "After another cancellation, UFC looks for answers to fighters' health issues," 6 July 2018 Jason is overcome, seeing his friends, and the scene is more emotional than most Bachelorette dates. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "The Bachelorette Season 14, Episode 6 Recap: Is Now Really The Time For A "Debate"?," 3 July 2018 Mayotte was overcome in 1918, just before Thanksgiving. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Memorial Day Parade Honors Fallen Military," 4 June 2018 People may overcome the fear of riding in a robocar. Alex Davies, WIRED, "As Rental Cars Fade Away, Avis Will Try Anything to Survive," 1 June 2018 Since being published earlier this week, the obit has gone viral, likely thanks to the fact that her family chronicled the start of her drug abuse, her subsequent addiction, and many attempts to overcome it. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "This Powerful Obit Is Going Viral Thanks to Its Brutal Honesty About Opioid Addiction," 17 Oct. 2018 Of course, the biggest hurdle the team has to overcome is making their product as cheap as the competition, which is still a distant prospect. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Future 'Plastic' Could Be Made From Trees and Crab Shells," 1 Aug. 2018 He was born with several serious medical conditions in an orphanage in Kiev, Ukraine, but overcame them to earn a gold medal at the Special Olympics. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles notes: Chance Sisco and Yefry Ramírez recalled in latest episode of rostermania," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overcome.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of overcome

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for overcome

Middle English, from Old English ofercuman, from ofer over + cuman to come

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Statistics for overcome

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overcome

The first known use of overcome was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for overcome



English Language Learners Definition of overcome

: to defeat (someone or something)

: to successfully deal with or gain control of (something difficult)

: to affect (someone) very strongly or severely


over·​come | \ˌō-vər-ˈkəm \
overcame\-​ˈkām \; overcome; overcoming

Kids Definition of overcome

1 : to win a victory over : conquer Soldiers overcame the enemy.

2 : to gain control of through great effort He overcame his fear of heights.

3 : to cause to lose physical ability or emotional control Firefighters were overcome by smoke. The family was overcome by grief.

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More from Merriam-Webster on overcome

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overcome

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overcome

Spanish Central: Translation of overcome

Nglish: Translation of overcome for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overcome for Arabic Speakers

Comments on overcome

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