over·​run | \ˌō-vər-ˈrən, ˌō-və-\
overran\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈran , 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, 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

foray (into), invade, raid

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Examples of overrun in a Sentence


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

But with the help of extraordinary turnout, surely energized by anti-Trump sentiment, Mr. O’Rourke overran Mr. Cruz in the state’s two biggest population centers, Dallas and Houston. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Trump 2.0 Begins," 7 Nov. 2018 Virginia agencies believe its growth sites are still contained, but if left unchecked, the flowers can easily overrun neighborhoods. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Giant, Scary Invasive Flower Can Cause Third-Degree Burns," 7 July 2018 His screenplay tells the story of an Oakland man (Diggs) and his white best friend (Rafael Casal) who share an upbringing in hip-hop culture, and an antipathy to the gentrification that’s overrunning and altering their neighborhood. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "Art in melting pot America: What's appropriation and what's appropriate? New movies explore," 6 July 2018 The Battle of Aden began in March 2015, when the Houthis, who overran the north the previous year, stormed south and attacked Aden, the last bastion of the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Washington Post, "In Yemen’s Aden, a generation chewed up and spit out by war," 12 May 2018 The Battle of Aden began in March 2015, when the Houthis, who overran the north the previous year, stormed south and attacked Aden, the last bastion of the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Fox News, "In Yemen's Aden, a generation chewed up and spit out by war," 11 May 2018 Sometimes the frustrations of bad luck, controversial calls and injuries can overrun a hockey team. Kevin Allen, USA TODAY, "Penguins have plenty to be mad about in Game 2 loss to Capitals," 29 Apr. 2018 Dadullah Qani, a member of the Farah provincial council, said Taliban fighters stormed Anardarah district, which used to be a safe area, and overran a number of government compounds early Monday. Mujib Mashal, BostonGlobe.com, "Taliban briefly take Afghan district as security worsens," 12 Mar. 2018 Even on imaginary medieval continents or within amusement acres overrun by revolutionary robots, HBO, with a few memorable exceptions, seems most concerned with the feelings and failures of the wealthy. Hank Stuever, chicagotribune.com, "In HBO's 'Succession,' a family so cruel you'll be sorry you ever met them," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The program has been criticized by some in Congress for testing problems, delays and cost overruns. Jeffrey Collins, Fox News, "New military jet crashes, pilot ejects in S Carolina," 28 Sep. 2018 This latest agreement sets no additional caps on costs, but Vogtle's majority owner, Southern Power Company, could be responsible for a larger share of any additional cost overruns, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Vote results: Construction will continue on Vogtle nuclear power plant," 27 Sep. 2018 The company is responsible for spending its own money on any cost overruns. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Why NASA is struggling to get its most powerful space telescope off the ground," 1 Aug. 2018 City staff has said high overhead appears to be one reason for cost overruns. Hillary Davis, latimes.com, "Council members shuffle the deck in Newport Finance Committee," 29 June 2018 The White House said the deal would put Boeing on the hook for cost overruns. Washington Post, "Trump reaches deal with Boeing on new presidential planes," 27 Feb. 2018 Huge cost overruns in the district’s renovation program, funded mostly with an $800 million bond referendum approved by voters in 2014, are being blamed on delays, inflation and a high demand for construction workers. Scott Travis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Costs to fix decaying Broward schools going through the roof," 20 Apr. 2018 Open year-round; ski or hike in; from $23/person/night; huts.org Waiʻānapanapa Cabins, Waiʻānapanapa State Park, Maui, HI These cabins offer the perfect getaway from the crowded beaches and overrun trails. Sunset, "10 Best Camping Cabins," 22 Jan. 2018 The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said Lime Kiln Road was closed near Steptoe Hill Road; officials shared photos of a street overrun with murky water. Washington Post, "Rain wreaks havoc in Washington region yet again, as residents grow weary," 3 June 2018

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

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overrun

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

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More Definitions for overrun



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)



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 \
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).


playful or foolish behavior

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