over·take | \ˌō-vər-ˈtāk \
overtook\ˌō-vər-ˈtu̇k \; overtaken\ˌō-vər-ˈtā-kən \; overtaking

Definition of overtake 

transitive verb

1a : to catch up with

b : to catch up with and pass by

2 : to come upon suddenly

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Examples of overtake in a Sentence

She overtook the other runners and went on to win the race. The sign says “No Overtaking.” Seasickness can overtake passengers when the ship encounters a storm.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But the botanicals and essential oils awaken our senses, the lush suds overtake our dirty hands, and the packaging tickles the visual part of our brains. Tyler Watamanuk, New York Times, "When Did Soap, Once Simple, Get So Complicated?," 11 July 2018 The images of the recent floods overtaking Boston’s waterfront aren’t easy to forget. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "Gearing up for climate change along the Mystic River," 29 June 2018 In 2016, cremation became the most common method of body disposal in the U.S., overtaking entombment for the first time. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "The Fight for the Right to Be Cremated by Water," 14 June 2018 John Patrick, 28, works the bar Mondays and Tuesdays, places orders and has begun to shadow his dad on managerial tasks; Ian, 26, makes warehouse trips and keeps the ivy outside from overtaking the place. Emma Silvers, San Francisco Chronicle, "The story of the Albany pub where time stands still," 16 May 2018 Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War has broken another record: it’s become the fastest movie to cross the $1 billion mark at the global box office, overtaking the prior record-holder, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Avengers: Infinity War has crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide," 5 May 2018 Hydrangea paniculata, meanwhile, are good for grounding a garden without overtaking the other flowers. John-john Williams Iv, Howard County Times, "5 ways to make your garden stand out this spring," 3 May 2018 Stage 3: Bowyer overtook Blaney early in the third stage, and then Kyle Busch also passed Blaney for second. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "NASCAR: Clint Bowyer snaps 190-race winless streak for victory at Martinsville | Charlotte Observer," 26 Mar. 2018 The Cubs’ history of second-half surges, such as their 2017 post-All-Star break burst that enabled them to erase a 5½-game deficit to overtake the Brewers for the National League Central title, bolsters their confidence. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "Cubs' Mike Montgomery: 'We still know we're the team to beat'," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'overtake.' 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 overtake

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for overtake

Middle English, from over entry 1 + taken to take

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Phrases Related to overtake

overtaken by events

Statistics for overtake

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for overtake

The first known use of overtake was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for overtake



English Language Learners Definition of overtake

: to move up to and past (someone or something that is in front of you) by moving faster

: to go past another vehicle that is moving more slowly in the same direction

: to happen to or affect (someone) in a sudden and unexpected way


over·take | \ˌō-vər-ˈtāk \
overtook\-ˈtu̇k \; overtaken\-ˈtā-kən \; overtaking

Kids Definition of overtake

1 : to catch up with and often pass I overtook the runner ahead.

2 : to come upon or happen to suddenly or without warning One night we were overtaken by a snow-storm while still a mile from the village …— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee

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Comments on overtake

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lying above or upon

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