over·​run | \ ˌō-vər-ˈrən How to pronounce overrun (audio) , ˌō-və- \
overran\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈran How to pronounce overran (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 For many, Imelda will forever be known as the ostentatious dictator’s wife whose dressing room—when it was overrun by revolutionaries in 1986—was found to contain 1,200 pairs of shoes. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "How Imelda Marcos, the Wife of a Filipino Dictator, Became an Icon of ’80s Excess," 4 Nov. 2019 In the sixties and seventies, residents complained they felt overrun by hippie squatters. Josh Marcus, Outside Online, "Has Overtourism Killed Big Sur?," 3 Oct. 2019 For a depressingly long time, Juventus' midfield has been a cause for concern; concern that was exacerbated last season when it was overrun by a pile of Ajax ten-year-olds in the UEFA Champions League. SI.com, "The Juventus Lineup Maurizio Sarri Must Select Regularly to Succeed This Season," 19 Sep. 2019 As a result of water in the West End of Ellicott City overrunning its bank, the road was closed by county police and the Office of Emergency Management. Jess Nocera, baltimoresun.com, "Howard County Executive Calvin Ball addresses response to Thursday storms in Ellicott City, greater county," 1 Nov. 2019 Those concerns became a reality soon after Mr. Trump's announcement, with the Turkish military and allied Arab forces launching an incursion into northern Syria and quickly overrunning smaller Kurdish forces. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "U.S. leaving Kurds "to the wolves" with "weak" Syria withdrawal, Kinzinger says," 13 Oct. 2019 That began to change in 1581, when Russia overran a Siberian territory known as the Khanate of Sibir, which was controlled by a descendant of Genghis Khan. William L. Iggiagruk Hensley, Quartz, "Long before Trump’s Greenland offer, the US bought a chunk of the Arctic for a bargain," 19 Aug. 2019 Hundreds of its flights were canceled when protesters overran the airport. Jill Disis, CNN, "Cathay Pacific CEO resigns amid Hong Kong protests," 16 Aug. 2019 The right fielder moved to second on Rendon’s single and advanced to third when McNeil briefly overran the ball. Charles O'brien, courant.com, "Nationals’ Cabrera stings Mets, ending their eight-game streak," 12 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Political elites fail to respond to the influx, and the continent is overrun. New York Times, "A Racist Book’s Malign and Lingering Influence," 22 Nov. 2019 The panel discusses the problems facing the I-4 Ultimate project, from cost overruns to legal woes. Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "I-4 troubles on ‘NewsNight’; Greg Warmoth Holiday Classic preview on WFTV," 20 Nov. 2019 There's every chance that this formation would just fold back into a diamond when under pressure like in the North London Derby, facing the same defensive problems and getting overrun on the flanks. SI.com, "Tottenham's Best Midfield - What Options Does Mauricio Pochettino Have?," 23 Sep. 2019 Ellis said the display will draw attention to cost overruns on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that have been raised as recently as last month. Washington Post, "Trump’s July 4 celebration will showcase some of the Pentagon’s deepest money pits, critics say," 3 July 2019 The construction company would pay the bribe, and Cognizant would later reimburse the firm through disguised cost overruns on the project, located in Chennai, India, prosecutors said. Dave Michaels, WSJ, "Two Former Cognizant Executives Charged in Bribery Probe," 15 Feb. 2019 The series, which ended its serialization this week, takes place in an alternate DC universe overrun by a virus — created by a familiar villain — that transforms many of the world’s greatest superheroes into undead monsters, with few punches pulled. Graeme Mcmillan, The Hollywood Reporter, "DC Zombie Comic 'DCeased' Unveils Collected Edition Trailer," 31 Oct. 2019 Interior designer Faith Blakeney added color and softness to the austere architecture, which helps create a warm, communal respite in a concrete jungle overrun by development. Los Angeles Times, "At this weekly Sunday dinner party in Silver Lake, all are welcome — even the Uber driver," 16 Oct. 2019 The project has endured years of delays and billion-dollar cost overruns. Jackie Wattles, CNN, "Elon Musk: Crew Dragon spacecraft for NASA could fly astronauts in 3 to 4 months," 30 Sep. 2019

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

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Overrun.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overrun. Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for overrun


How to pronounce overrun (audio)

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)


How to pronounce overrun (audio)

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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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).


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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