over·​rule | \ˌō-vər-ˈrül, 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

The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, eventually had to overrule official advice against holding an independent inquiry. Rupert Darwall, WSJ, "Reform the NHS Before It Kills Again," 4 July 2018 Astronaut Neil Armstrong had to overrule the computer and set the ship down by hand. Hiawatha Bray, BostonGlobe.com, "Will a robot take my job? The brains at an AI conference say humans will have plenty of work options," 4 June 2018 At that time, the court appeared to be ready to overrule a 1997 high court decision that serves as the legal foundation for the fair share fees. Mark Sherman, chicagotribune.com, "Supreme Court deals big setback to public sector labor unions in 'Janus'," 27 June 2018 At that time, the court appeared to be ready to overrule a 1997 high court decision that serves as the legal foundation for the fair share fees. Mark Sherman, Anchorage Daily News, "Supreme Court deals big setback to labor unions," 27 June 2018 Again, the Supreme Court took the case and overruled the lower court in a 9-0 ruling. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Why a 40-year-old SCOTUS ruling against software patents still matters today," 21 June 2018 But the secretary of state overruled New York’s withdrawal, certifying the 15th Amendment, and later did the same with the 19th Amendment, suggesting that states cannot withdraw ratification. Robinson Woodward-burns, Washington Post, "The Equal Rights Amendment is one state from ratification. Now what?," 20 June 2018 Superintendent Robert Runcie, or his designee, overruled the committee’s recommendation to fire Medina and reduced the discipline to a three-day suspension. Scott Travis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "School Board kept coach on the job after sexual harassment claims," 19 June 2018 The Office of Management and Budget then overruled the committee on its recommendation to strike entirely the merchandise trade balance, which excludes services. Gerard Gayou, WSJ, "The Day the ‘Trade Deficit’ Almost Disappeared," 13 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of overrule

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for overrule

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overrule

The first known use of overrule was in 1576

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More Definitions for overrule



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 \
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.


transitive verb
over·​rule | \ˌō-vər-ˈrül \

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

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a private place of worship

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