over·​run | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrən How to pronounce overrun (audio) , ˌō-və- \
overran\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈran How to pronounce overrun (audio) , 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 How to pronounce overrun (audio) , 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

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Examples of overrun in a Sentence

Verb 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 He was devastated when city leaders let protesters overrun the 3rd Precinct to the south, near where Floyd died. Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2021 In typical years, Capri — known for celebrity sightings, gorgeous resorts, and breathtaking cliffs — has been overrun with tourists. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 12 May 2021 According to Marker, incentive programs from Vermont to Arizona have been predictably overrun by applications since working from anywhere became more feasible for a much larger percentage of US workers. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, 12 May 2021 But population falloffs are happening in some states that only a few years ago were nearly overrun with turkeys. Star Tribune, 10 Apr. 2021 Lately, Apple has allowed a monopolistic way of thinking to overrun even basic product functions. Washington Post, 27 May 2021 Such an avulsion would be catastrophic for trade on the Mississippi River, and could overrun many low-lying regions of the Atchafalaya. Fred Pearce, Science | AAAS, 13 May 2021 Thousands of negative comments have overrun their social media Weibo feeds. Michael Golden, Forbes, 11 May 2021 The common, pesky weed Johnsongrass, which can grow to be 8 feet tall, may be one of the species that benefits from warming, going on to overrun grasslands further north. Morgan Greene, chicagotribune.com, 20 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun America is about to be overrun by radical Islamists or Central American immigrants, or educators are turning public schools into centers for leftist indoctrination. Ronald Radosh, The New Republic, 5 May 2021 The question is whether democracy will be overrun by regimes that want to operate in a world hospitable to tyrannical rule. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 30 Apr. 2021 Foot traffic will be regulated to prevent the park from being overrun. CNN, 25 May 2021 Thomas suggested his former aide was a hypocrite and noted McCarthy rejected the election outcome even after the House chamber was overrun and lawmakers had to run for their lives. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2021 For the time being, the United States also will continue to supply military aid to Afghanistan’s government in hopes that its security forces will not be overrun. Michael Crowley, New York Times, 23 Apr. 2021 The attack comes after officers were overrun and injured when a violent mob of Trump supporters overran the Capitol on Jan. 6, breaking through insufficient barriers and pushing their way to within steps of lawmakers. The Christian Science Monitor, 5 Apr. 2021 The attack comes after officers were overrun and injured when a violent mob overran the Capitol on Jan. 6, breaking through insufficient barriers and pushing their way to within steps of lawmakers. Fox News, 5 Apr. 2021 Recently, at his first news conference, Biden tried to dispute the idea that the border is overrun. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for overrun

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for overrun

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overrun.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overrun. Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce overrun (audio) \
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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