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

Mindfulness — the cultural phenomenon — threatens to overrun Lazar’s findings. Cindy Dampier, chicagotribune.com, "Mindfulness is not just a buzzword, it's a multibillion dollar industry. Here's the truth about the hype," 2 July 2018 BlacKkKlansman is based on the real-life story of an African-American police officer (Washington) and his partner (Driver) who went undercover to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s and thwart its attempt to overrun the city. Patrick Shanley, The Hollywood Reporter, "Spike Lee's 'BlacKkKlansman' Unveils Explosive First Trailer," 14 May 2018 Such productivity has allowed the nutria to overrun places like Louisiana, where sugar cane and rice fields have been decimated and miles of coastal wetlands have been lost. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "Eradication of invasive rodent off to a slow start in California," 12 May 2018 Tucked away on a private refuge in La Baritta, a fishing village that has yet to be overrun by western tourism, the house was once surrounded by lush overgrowth. Sara Tardiff, ELLE Decor, "Get An Exclusive Look At Betsey Johnson's "Betseyvilla" Airbnb In Mexico," 14 July 2017 Many other luxury Mediterranean destinations have been overrun by brand-name shops. Hannah Seligson, Town & Country, "Porto Heli Might Be Greece's Best Kept Secret," 30 June 2017 The earth is being overrun with disposable plastic water bottles that can be found littering streets and parks and floating in rivers, oceans and lakes everywhere. New York Times, "How to Meet Your Body’s Water Needs," 9 July 2018 Another social media darling, a swimming hole called Three Pools in Oregon’s Santiam River, is constantly overrun with visitors. Robert Earle Howells, SFChronicle.com, "Should we hide the locations of Earth’s greatest trees?," 3 July 2018 When Trump took office, the State Department sent a document to the White House predicting that dozens of U.S. embassies would be overrun with protesters if Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Brian Bennett, Time, "This Is What Trump’s Impulsive Diplomacy Looks Like," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Since then, multiple scheduling delays, cost overruns, and other issues have pushed back the launch date again and again. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "James Webb Space Telescope Delayed Yet Again, Launch Pushed Back to 2021," 27 June 2018 In a letter to aldermen, Nicolet Superintendent Robert Kobylski said he was never consulted or apprised of cost overruns during the construction process — only afterward. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Glendale council chooses Nicolet over Dominican for development of Maslowski Park fields," 27 Feb. 2018 That assumes tunnel construction wouldn’t balloon into significant cost overruns like virtually every other big government project. George Skelton, latimes.com, "What do Southern Californians really get out of Gov. Jerry Brown's twin tunnels project?," 12 July 2018 Separately, the utility is spending massive amounts of money on infrastructure projects, with cost overruns and other problems — including an embarrassing mistake in purchasing advanced meters — adding to the burden of necessary upgrades. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "‘Alarm bell’ over City Light spending as Seattle council considers rate increases," 9 July 2018 It’s currently being installed on the Flushing line, where there have once again been cost overruns and missed deadlines and years of service disruptions. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 July 2018 The group is skeptical taxpayers can be shielded from the costs, pointing to budget overruns in other host cities. Brian Eason And Colleen Slevin, chicagotribune.com, "Colorado plans to pursue Winter Olympics subject to voter approval," 1 June 2018 That figure added $187 million to the administration’s initial 2018 request, based on what Ross said were cost overruns in a new computer system for coordinating the agency’s preparations for the headcount. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, "2020 census gets huge budget boost, but addition of citizenship question worries critics," 27 Mar. 2018 Other countries typically have sports ministries and government organizations that run the Olympics, which often lead to the cost overruns and wasteful infrastructure that have caused so much bad publicity for the IOC. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Will LA’s ‘no-build’ Olympics spur Southern California’s next building boom?," 10 July 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

18 Sep 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).


a magnificent or impressive array

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