verb over·come \ ˌō-vər-ˈkəm \
|Updated on: 5 Aug 2018

Definition of overcome

overcame play \ˌō-vər-ˈkām\; overcome; overcoming
1 : to get the better of : surmount
  • overcome difficulties
  • They overcame the enemy.
2 : overwhelm
  • were overcome by the heat and smoke
: to gain the superiority : win
  • strong in the faith that truth would overcome



Examples of overcome in a Sentence

  1. After a tough battle, they overcame the enemy.

  2. a story about overcoming adversity

  3. She overcame a leg injury and is back running again.

Recent Examples of overcome from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of overcome

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

OVERCOME Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of overcome for English Language Learners

  • : to defeat (someone or something)

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

  • : to affect (someone) very strongly or severely

OVERCOME Defined for Kids


verb over·come \ ˌō-vər-ˈkəm \

Definition of overcome for Students

overcame \-ˈkām\; overcome; overcoming
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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excessive admiration or flattery

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