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

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

Google Maps is overrun with fake business listings and phone numbers that reroute to competing businesses, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Dami Lee, The Verge, "Google Maps has a fake business listing problem," 20 June 2019 The beach was overrun with the tan, friendly low-lying dogs. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "5th Corgi Con draws 1,000 dogs to Ocean Beach — and many admirers as well," 15 June 2019 The bigoted barbarians had overrun Buckingham Palace with pitchforks and torches. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "No Exit," 10 Apr. 2019 To be immersed in a simulated, but fairly persuasive 360-degree representation of a Manhattan that's been overrun by animated gargoyles and ghosts hell-bent on mischief and destruction, participants have to put on clunky headsets. Arthur Levine, USA TODAY, "Who you gonna call (in VR)? Ghostbusters!," 23 Jan. 2018 And Native Americans marching to end injustice for indigenous peoples across the globe who have seen their lands overrun by outside settlers. Jeffrey Collins, The Seattle Times, "3 groups, many videos, many interpretations of D.C. encounter," 22 Jan. 2019 Although the project overran by 10 weeks, its cost of 1.35 billion pounds (1.46 billion euros) is 235 million pounds below budget. Jacob Mcadams, Houston Chronicle, "Lady Pirates fall to Bridge City Lady Cardinals 15-0," 19 Mar. 2018 However, state officials say that the farm routinely let wastewater overrun the storage facilities built to contain it, which likely allowed manure and other wastewater to seep directly into the soil and public waterways. Molly Harbarger, OregonLive.com, "Oregon mega-dairy sued by state for release of wastewater, by contractors for unpaid bills," 8 Mar. 2018 The base was overrun by protesters and looters in 1997. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Albania’s Underground Air Force Doesn’t Look So Good," 1 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But McDermott's profits have been dragged down by LNG project delays and cost overruns in both Texas and Louisiana with the Freeport LNG and Cameron LNG projects, respectively. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "McDermott JV wins construction contract for Mozambique LNG," 5 June 2019 Mosqueda announced the review during a time of transition for City Light, which has been hiking its rates and has been dogged by issues ranging from harassment and discrimination claims by employees to cost overruns on major projects. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle auditor to investigate City Light practices after complaints over huge electricity bills," 11 Sep. 2018 Development and production of the first planes brought further delays, and Boeing has absorbed budget overruns of more than $3.6 billion. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "Boeing’s other problem: Much-needed Air Force tanker keeps hitting snafus," 12 Apr. 2019 For the past seven years, in the northeast wedge of Syria abutting Turkey, Iraq and Islamic State, a band of zealous Kurds have built an unrecognized state called Rojava and tried to keep it from being overrun. Graeme Wood, WSJ, "‘Long Shot’ Review: Triggering a Revolution," 18 Feb. 2019 Meanwhile, the Trump administration has already proposed canceling the WFIRST telescope, which would help test out the coronagraph technology, citing cost overruns on the project. Loren Grush, The Verge, "The search for alien life needs a new space telescope, astronomers say," 8 Sep. 2018 The cost overruns are more than double on average. Montana’s expansion has come in 70% over budget, according to the Foundation for Government Accountability. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "ObamaCare’s Red State Trap," 29 Oct. 2018 Long before the delays and overruns that riddles the F-35 program, history was littered with illustrations of multi-mission aircraft that never quite measured up. Eric Tegler, Popular Mechanics, "WTF-35: How the Joint Strike Fighter Got to Be Such a Mess," 27 July 2018 Almost all of the new technology has had developmental problems and cost overruns--for example, the cost of the landing system has tripled from $301 million to $961 million dollars. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Navy’s Newest Aircraft Carrier Is Delayed, Yet Again," 28 Mar. 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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Statistics for overrun

Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

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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 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 take the place or position of

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