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

Until that changes, YouTube will always be overrun by the worst people online. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Something Awful’s founder thinks YouTube sucks at moderation," 26 June 2019 The place was overrun with cockroaches, city authorities said. Lyndsay Winkley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Toxic gas, rodents and bed bugs: Independent living facility operator charged with elder abuse," 12 Sep. 2019 The three-day festival set to start Sept. 20, a celebration of aliens that promises surprise performances, art installations and camping, is expected to pack a tiny town already overrun by media attention and a spike in extraterrestrial enthusiasm. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Google’s internal activism is spreading across tech companies," 14 Aug. 2019 Her work ranged from a driving instructor at a location overrun by ghouls to a leader of a secret society looking to lure men into their circle. Rick Bentley, chicagotribune.com, "'Superstore’ actress on the ‘roller coaster ride’ of ‘Scare Tactics’," 8 July 2019 Some Mexico beaches overrun by algae Another issue that has become more prominent is that Caribbean beaches in Mexico, including Cancun and Cozumel, are suffering from algae bloom. Adrienne Jordan, USA TODAY, "Should you travel this summer to Mexico amid safety, algae and political concerns?," 12 June 2019 At the time, the house was plastered in asbestos shingles and 1950s vinyl flooring, with a marigold kitchen overrun by mice. New York Times, "How a 19th-Century Workman’s Cottage Became a Family Home," 10 June 2019 At a company overrun with perks, there’s broad agreement that the NCDP is one of the features that makes working at Nike really special. latimes.com, "Nike is expanding its daycare benefit, and its employees are furious," 8 June 2019 With relatively few troops, America suffers just a dozen or so deaths a year, and still stops the Taliban from overrunning the country. The Economist, "America will have to resume negotiations with the Taliban eventually," 14 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At the heart of the case is what prosecutors say were ongoing acrimonious arguments the couple had about the cost overruns and quality of the home’s construction, built by Buschauer’s cousin, Larry Antemann, owner of Antemann Construction. George Houde, chicagotribune.com, "At murder trial of former South Barrington man, defense witness testifies she heard of no threats by defendant against wife, who he’s accused of killing," 13 Aug. 2019 Besides dropping the 0-60 time beneath the 4-second mark, the V8 gives the CT6 the right soundtrack to play against the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Audi—the deep bass burble at idle sounds proper, and there's no contrived popping on the overrun. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Cadillac Blackwing Is Great, But It Won't Save the 2020 CT6," 9 Aug. 2019 Analysts note that cost-overruns on an event of this size is unlikely to add much to the Italian debt load. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Italy Won the 2026 Winter Olympics Bid. Here’s Why That Could Be Trouble," 26 June 2019 The new land requirements complicate efforts by rail authority leaders to turn around years of delays, cost overruns and technical problems that are threatening political support for the project. Los Angeles Times, "California bullet train’s mishandling of land deals adds to mounting costs and delays," 16 Sep. 2019 The aircraft suffered cost overruns and technical problems entering service, and earlier this year the Air Force twice suspended deliveries over construction debris, tools, and other items found sealed in aircraft. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force’s Latest Tanker Is Banned from Carrying Cargo and Passengers," 13 Sep. 2019 But in claims submitted shortly before its firing, the contracting team projected the project would take until February 2024, with cost overruns of $288 million. Jon Murray, The Denver Post, "Denver airport renovation reboot will face council scrutiny," 30 Aug. 2019 Construction got bogged down; cost overruns caused the project to be downsized, and NSF fired the project’s original managers, who had been drawn primarily from the scientific community. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "NSF’s huge ecological observatory is open for business. But tensions remain," 29 Aug. 2019 The drone, under development for several years, reportedly experienced cost overruns and was behind schedule for several years. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia’s New 'Altair' Spy Drone Takes to the Skies," 22 Aug. 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

16 Oct 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

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transposition of initial sounds of words

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