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 Large prisons, in particular, are usually situated in rural areas with small community hospitals that can be easily overrun by an outbreak. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "We Live in a Patchwork Pandemic Now," 20 May 2020 Notably absent from the gathering was Polish President Andrzej Duda, whose country was overrun by the Nazis at the outbreak of World War II and was home to six extermination camps, including Auschwitz. Ivan Levingston, Bloomberg.com, "World Leaders Gather in Jerusalem 75 Years After Holocaust," 8 May 2020 Even when their city was repeatedly overrun by the Taliban and fighting reached their doorsteps, the doctors and nurses in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz kept working. Mujib Mashal, New York Times, "‘Hospital Needs to Be Quarantined,’ but Works On in Country at War," 1 May 2020 Even when their city was repeatedly overrun by the Taliban and fighting reached their doorsteps, the doctors and nurses in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz kept working. Najim Rahim, BostonGlobe.com, "This ‘hospital needs to be quarantined,’ but this country is at war," 1 May 2020 Meanwhile in Washington, the Senate passed a $484 billion relief package to replenish a small-business loan program that’s been overrun by demand and to devote more money to hospitals and testing. Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, "U.S. stock futures make gains as oil prices stabilize," 22 Apr. 2020 The firm also handles other sorts of jobs, like cleaning and sanitizing the homes of severe hoarders who fail to dispose of large numbers of sanitary products and people whose homes are overrun by dozens of pets. Connor Sheets | Csheets@al.com, al, "Alabama company does the dirty job of cleaning up coronavirus," 19 Apr. 2020 Unfortunately, that titular apocalypse has other plans, and her small town is soon overrun by the undead. Isaac Feldberg, Fortune, "What to watch on Hulu while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic," 3 Apr. 2020 Also, when all our hospitals are overrun by desperate people gasping for their next breath, will Patrick be around to decide who gets to live and who has to die? Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Garcia: With coronavirus outbreak, the best leadership has been local," 25 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Yet program delays and cost overruns sent the investment soaring to $6 billion, raising concerns about the debt, now rated six levels below investment grade. Paula Sambo, Bloomberg.com, "Bombardier Back to Brink After Rethinking Airbus A220 Deal," 12 May 2020 Their hospitals are not being overrun, as one epidemiologist told me for this story. Kevin Townsend, The Atlantic, "Social Distance: Where the Curve Has Flattened," 14 Apr. 2020 Officials hope telling people to stay homes and restrict social interactions will slow the spread of the virus and ultimately prevent hospitals from being overrun with sick patients. oregonlive, "Here is what LA told its residents they can and cannot do under coronavirus restrictions," 21 Mar. 2020 Ultimately, by accepting these unfinished designs, NASA experienced significant delays and costly rework for Mobile Launcher-1 project, which in turn created further delays and cost overruns. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "NASA spent a decade and nearly $1 billion for a single launch tower," 17 Mar. 2020 The potential shortage of ventilators and the tragic choices that medical professionals will have face if hospitals are overrun has been widely covered. Aaron Olver, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "I nearly died from H1N1. I can tell you this: Social distancing is the best potion we have to fight the coronavirus in Wisconsin.," 23 Apr. 2020 The windfall from the bond sale will go toward cost overruns at Benson, which was initially pitched to voters as a $202 million project. oregonlive, "Portland Public Schools sold $508 million in bonds this week. Here’s where the money is going," 18 Apr. 2020 Technical difficulties and cost overruns boosted the cost of the program, and the Navy ultimately decided to trim the class from 32 to just three ships. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "After Nearly 4 Years in Service, the USS Zumwalt Is Almost Ready To Fight," 30 Mar. 2020 Nearly every resident at the San Antonio nursing home overrun by a coronavirus outbreak has tested positive for the virus, officials said Thursday. Lauren Caruba, ExpressNews.com, "At San Antonio nursing home, 59 of 71 residents test positive for coronavirus," 2 Apr. 2020

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

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Overrun.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overrun. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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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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