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 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 Last September, the board, having failed to overrule Browning-Ferris by adjudication, decided to try again through rulemaking. Ian Macdougall, ProPublica, "Trump’s NLRB, Trying to Cut Protections for Millions of Temps and Fast-Food Workers, Trips Up Again," 16 Sep. 2019 There are also increased calls for state-level intervention, to overrule failed policies at the local level. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Hey, middle class, the housing crisis is coming for you next," 11 June 2019 For now, the effort hasn’t done much to lower the number of H-1Bs; many of the denials are overruled and the number of applications hasn’t dropped by much, meaning that the cap is still being hit every year. Noah Smith, The Denver Post, "Noah Smith: The U.S. needs more of India’s and China’s best and brightest," 22 Oct. 2019 Criticizing the monuments’ removal as an arbitrary attempt to erase history, the group has called on the Maryland Historical Trust to overrule Pugh’s directive and restore the Confederate statues to their pedestals. Colin Campbell, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore’s Confederate statues were spirited away one night. Two years later, they languish on a city lot.," 26 Sep. 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.

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First Known Use of overrule

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for overrule

Time Traveler

The first known use of overrule was in 1576

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Statistics for overrule

Last Updated

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Overrule.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overrule?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=o&file=overru01. Accessed 8 December 2019.

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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

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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).


to constrict the range or activity of

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