over·​take | \ ˌō-vər-ˈtāk How to pronounce overtake (audio) \
overtook\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈtu̇k How to pronounce overtook (audio) \; overtaken\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈtā-​kən How to pronounce overtaken (audio) \; 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

That’s finally changing, thanks in part to Yahoo and AOL, two old-school internet icons sold off for parts after newer tech darlings overtook them. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Work Ruined Email," 2 Aug. 2019 The humiliating defeat for Dortmund proved costly, as Niko Kovac's side caught up with them and overtook them at the top of the Bundesliga table on the final day. SI.com, "Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 1 Aug. 2019 On Tuesday, the center stage was held by the liberal pairing of Sanders, who came in second in the 2016 Democratic contest but has lost ground of late, and Warren, who has overtaken him in some polls. oregonlive.com, "Who won Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate? Vote here," 31 July 2019 Since West’s king of hearts is surely a singleton, East must overtake it and continue with the jack. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, "Bridge: July 23, 2019," 23 July 2019 Ronaldo is currently Brazil's second highest goalscorer, though Neymar could soon overtake him. SI.com, "The Top 50 International Goalscorers of All Time," 18 July 2019 None appears ready to legitimately push Tate, let alone overtake him. Michael Lev, azcentral, "Counting down the most valuable Arizona Wildcats for 2019 football season," 9 July 2019 The Giants are the worst first-inning team in nearly every meaningful pitching category and in most cases, the second-worst team isn’t remotely close to overtaking them. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants’ first-inning failures are simply staggering, show up again in another blowout," 19 June 2019 Yet events are overtaking us, the daily refrain with Donald Trump in the White House. oregonlive.com, "Extending Oregon’s lead in the battle over abortion rights: Steve Duin," 14 June 2019

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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Statistics for overtake

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

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
British : 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 How to pronounce overtake (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on overtake

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with overtake

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for overtake

Spanish Central: Translation of overtake

Nglish: Translation of overtake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overtake for Arabic Speakers

Comments on overtake

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marked by turns or indirection

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