over·​rule | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrül How to pronounce overrule (audio) , ˌō-və- \
overruled; overruling; overrules

Definition of overrule

transitive verb

1 : to rule over : govern
2 : to prevail over : overcome
3a : to rule against
b : to set aside : reverse

Examples of overrule in a Sentence

The judge overruled the objection. His conviction was overruled by the supreme court.
Recent Examples on the Web Mulvaney and Giuliani can be compelled to testify if a court overrules the executive privilege defense, although each might choose to plead the Fifth Amendment instead. Tom Campbell, Orange County Register, "Trump’s side should be heard before House moves on impeachment: Tom Campbell," 2 Dec. 2019 Brady shouldn’t be banking on Robert Kraft interceding and overruling BB. BostonGlobe.com, "Balance of Patriots power shifts back to Bill Belichick, not Tom Brady - The Boston Globe," 27 Nov. 2019 Kuykendall asked, drawing a strong objection from Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Wright that Collins overruled. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Arizona border aid worker Scott Warren takes stand in second trial against him," 19 Nov. 2019 The court has struck down advertising rules in the pharmaceutical market, invalidated state limits on the sale of medical information, and overruled mandatory employee fees to fund the unions that represent public employees in collective bargaining. John Fabian Witt, The New Republic, "The Shrinking Legacy of a Supreme Court Justice," 1 Oct. 2019 The judge overruled the blanket motion to get all evidence but ordered that the state turn over all evidence favorable to the defense. Sonia Chopra, Cincinnati.com, "Hearings continue in West Chester family shooting case," 15 Nov. 2019 Unlike federal courts, whose judges are nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate and serve for life, immigration courts are part of the Justice Department, which appoints its judges and has the power to overrule their decisions. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Newsom runs up against US Justice Department rules in pardoning immigrants," 8 Nov. 2019 British imperial self-interest in this case overruled ethnonational thinking. John Broich, The Conversation, "Why there is no Kurdish nation," 6 Nov. 2019 The Supreme Court’s decision to overrule Mr Johnson’s proroguing of Parliament could be the beginning of a new period of judicial activism. The Economist, "Leaving the European Union is making Britain less British," 26 Oct. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of overrule

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about overrule

Time Traveler for overrule

Time Traveler

The first known use of overrule was in 1576

See more words from the same year

Statistics for overrule

Last Updated

10 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Overrule.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overrule. Accessed 13 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for overrule


How to pronounce overrule (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of overrule

: to decide that (something or someone) is wrong : to rule against (something or someone)


over·​rule | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrül How to pronounce overrule (audio) \
overruled; overruling

Kids Definition of overrule

1 : to decide against The judge overruled the objection.
2 : to set aside a decision or ruling made by someone having less authority Mother overruled our plans.
over·​rule | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrül How to pronounce overrule (audio) \

Legal Definition of overrule

1 : to rule against the objection was overruled — compare sustain
2a : to rule against upon review by virtue of a higher authority : set aside, reverse the appeals court overruled the trial court's decision
b : to set aside as a precedent or guide did not intend to overrule prior jurisprudence in that area refused to overrule the landmark case — compare follow

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on overrule

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overrule

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overrule

Spanish Central: Translation of overrule

Nglish: Translation of overrule for Spanish Speakers

Comments on overrule

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


easily led, controlled, or managed

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!