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 most prominent effort has been led by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who has tried and failed repeatedly to pass a bill that would allow the state to overrule local decisions against housing development near transit hubs. Scott Wilson, Washington Post, "Confronting a shifting climate, how will California grow?," 23 Apr. 2021 Prior Alaska Legislatures have acknowledged the supremacy clause and have argued in favor of a U.S. Constitutional amendment that would allow states to overrule federal law under certain circumstances. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Eagle River state lawmaker proposes to ignore some federal laws and orders," 15 Apr. 2021 Liberal lawmakers and activists had argued that Democrats should overrule the official who issued the decision, the Senate parliamentarian, and push through the proposal anyway over Republican opposition. New York Times, "Democrats Agree to Trim Jobless Aid to Keep Stimulus Plan on Track," 5 Mar. 2021 The minimum wage hike was a top priority for liberals, some of whom hold out hope that Harris will overrule the Senate parliamentarian. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "With minimum wage loss and Syria strikes, liberals taste first disappointments under Biden," 27 Feb. 2021 But two Rutgers University law professors questioned whether the heartbreaking anecdotes will be enough to convince the courts that constitutional violations had occurred or that a judge should overrule local officials. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Preaching vaccines, bonnet scheme, well water: News from around our 50 states," 22 Feb. 2021 Alabama solar advocates are asking federal regulators to overrule the state’s Public Service Commission and strike down fees that Alabama Power charges to its customers with solar panels. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, "Feds asked to strike down Alabama Power solar fee," 7 Apr. 2021 Even Facebook’s vaunted Oversight Board, which can overrule Mark Zuckerberg, only weighs in on issues that have already created massive ethical and legal issues. Richard Banfield, Forbes, "Why We Can’t Anticipate Our Most Urgent Tech Problems," 7 Apr. 2021 Owen pointed to Utah’s 2018 Medicaid expansion initiative as evidence that Utah’s urban and suburban voters can overrule other areas of the state. Bethany Rodgers, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Secretive out-of-state group pushes bill that makes it harder to get a voter initiative on the ballot," 11 Mar. 2021

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

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The first known use of overrule was in 1576

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Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overrule.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overrule. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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 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.


transitive verb
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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