over·​run | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrən How to pronounce overrun (audio) , ˌō-və-\
overran\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈran How to pronounce overran (audio) , ˌō-​və-​ \; overrun; overrunning

Definition of overrun

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a(1) : to defeat decisively and occupy the positions of
(2) : to invade and occupy or ravage
b : to spread or swarm over : infest
2a : to run or go beyond or past the plane overran the runway
b : exceed overrun a budget
c : to readjust (set type) by shifting letters or words from one line into another
3 : to flow over the river overran its banks


over·​run | \ ˈō-vər-ˌrən How to pronounce overrun (audio) , ˈō-və-\

Definition of overrun (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of overrunning especially : an exceeding of the costs estimated in a contract for development and manufacture of new equipment
2 : the amount by which something overruns
3 : a run in excess of the quantity ordered by a customer

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Synonyms for overrun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of overrun in a Sentence

Verb The tank divisions overran the countryside. The city was being overrun by enemy troops. The plane overran the runway. His speech overran the time allowed.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Two farmers plowed under their crop because it was overrun with weeds, Pate said. al, "Alabama’s hemp is passing the low-THC test," 6 Sep. 2019 Will it get overrun by cheating and smurfing, plagued by unrepentant jerks and trolls, or just outright fail to attract enough players to keep it appropriately balanced? Nick Statt, The Verge, "Apex Legends’ ranked mode will be the key to keeping it alive," 9 July 2019 We’ll be overrun by overlanders and safari trucks charging in from every direction. National Geographic, "This Indian community welcomes leopards," 22 Mar. 2019 Until that changes, YouTube will always be overrun by the worst people online. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Something Awful’s founder thinks YouTube sucks at moderation," 26 June 2019 The place was overrun with cockroaches, city authorities said. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Toxic gas, rodents and bed bugs: Independent living facility operator charged with elder abuse," 12 Sep. 2019 The three-day festival set to start Sept. 20, a celebration of aliens that promises surprise performances, art installations and camping, is expected to pack a tiny town already overrun by media attention and a spike in extraterrestrial enthusiasm. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Google’s internal activism is spreading across tech companies," 14 Aug. 2019 Her work ranged from a driving instructor at a location overrun by ghouls to a leader of a secret society looking to lure men into their circle. Rick Bentley, chicagotribune.com, "'Superstore’ actress on the ‘roller coaster ride’ of ‘Scare Tactics’," 8 July 2019 Some Mexico beaches overrun by algae Another issue that has become more prominent is that Caribbean beaches in Mexico, including Cancun and Cozumel, are suffering from algae bloom. Adrienne Jordan, USA TODAY, "Should you travel this summer to Mexico amid safety, algae and political concerns?," 12 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican who ran for president in 2016, canceled it in 2010, citing concerns about potential cost overruns and a design that ended blocks from Pennsylvania Station. Washington Post, "Why a Rail Tunnel Under the Hudson River Is Stuck in Washington," 18 Sep. 2019 With cost overruns and incomplete buildings, the oil heiress fired the famed architect. Mary Forgione, latimes.com, "Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House becomes L.A.’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site," 7 July 2019 At the heart of the case is what prosecutors say were ongoing acrimonious arguments the couple had about the cost overruns and quality of the home’s construction, built by Buschauer’s cousin, Larry Antemann, owner of Antemann Construction. George Houde, chicagotribune.com, "At murder trial of former South Barrington man, defense witness testifies she heard of no threats by defendant against wife, who he’s accused of killing," 13 Aug. 2019 Besides dropping the 0-60 time beneath the 4-second mark, the V8 gives the CT6 the right soundtrack to play against the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Audi—the deep bass burble at idle sounds proper, and there's no contrived popping on the overrun. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Cadillac Blackwing Is Great, But It Won't Save the 2020 CT6," 9 Aug. 2019 Analysts note that cost-overruns on an event of this size is unlikely to add much to the Italian debt load. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Italy Won the 2026 Winter Olympics Bid. Here’s Why That Could Be Trouble," 26 June 2019 The new land requirements complicate efforts by rail authority leaders to turn around years of delays, cost overruns and technical problems that are threatening political support for the project. Los Angeles Times, "California bullet train’s mishandling of land deals adds to mounting costs and delays," 16 Sep. 2019 The aircraft suffered cost overruns and technical problems entering service, and earlier this year the Air Force twice suspended deliveries over construction debris, tools, and other items found sealed in aircraft. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force’s Latest Tanker Is Banned from Carrying Cargo and Passengers," 13 Sep. 2019 But in claims submitted shortly before its firing, the contracting team projected the project would take until February 2024, with cost overruns of $288 million. Jon Murray, The Denver Post, "Denver airport renovation reboot will face council scrutiny," 30 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overrun.' 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 overrun


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


1898, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for overrun

Last Updated

30 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for overrun

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

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More Definitions for overrun


How to pronounce overrun (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overrun

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to enter and be present in (a place) in large numbers
: to run or go beyond or past (something)
: to spread over or throughout (something)


How to pronounce overrun (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overrun (Entry 2 of 2)

: an amount of money that is spent and that is more than the expected or planned amount


over·​run | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrən How to pronounce overrun (audio) \
overran\ -​ˈran \; overrun; overrunning

Kids Definition of overrun

1 : to take over and occupy by force The outpost was overrun by the enemy.
2 : to run or go past The runner overran second base.
3 : to spread over so as to cover Weeds overran the garden.

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Comments on overrun

What made you want to look up overrun? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a calculated move

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