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

Inside Trump’s orbit, there is an acknowledgment that the strategy will ultimately be driven by the president himself, and a sense that the rapid news cycle – including the caravan – could overtake the current crises and shift the focus again. Josh Dawsey, The Seattle Times, "Trump, aides struggle to balance midterm politics with empathy after synagogue massacre," 30 Oct. 2018 Then these dark-green fragments are put through misery, plunged into tanks mimicking the hotter, more acidic waters projected to one day overtake the tropical region. Evan Halper, latimes.com, "Racing to save Florida’s coral from climate change, scientists turn to a once-unthinkable strategy: ‘assisted evolution’," 9 July 2018 Last August, in Oklahoma, two inmates in a vehicle heading to Kansas overtook two transport employees and stole the vehicle, KOTV reported. Kaitlyn Schwers, kansascity, "Gun was left in van with inmate. His suicide raises questions about transport company | The Kansas City Star," 26 May 2018 From March through November 1841, Farmington was home to the African Mendi captives who had rebelled and overtaken the slave-ship, La Amistad. Courant Community, "Community News For The Valley Edition," 1 May 2018 Linden then made her move, passing Daska, then moments later overtaking Chesir for the lead and never giving it up. CBS News, "Desi Linden becomes 1st American woman to win Boston Marathon in 33 years," 16 Apr. 2018 Hoosier Hysteria: Indiana businesses (including a Taco Bell!) chime in on Romeo Langford's college choice Fort Wayne Snider’s Jesse Hamlin had built about a 10-yard lead on the last lap but was overtaken down the home stretch. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "IU track signee from Evansville flashes talent in winning mile," 13 Apr. 2018 Connelly and his son are so infected with Rambler fever that the pair drove to Grand Rapids, Mich., last weekend to catch the last two seats on a plane to Atlanta to watch their team overtake the Kansas State Wildcats in a 78-62 win. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Porter Moser, headed to Final Four as Loyola coach, deeply tied to his Naperville hometown," 30 Mar. 2018 As their numbers swell to 73 million, by 2019, millennials are expected to overtake boomers in population, says Pew Research. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "Why are the oldest Americans three times as likely to vote as millennials? Two voters, ages 90 and 21, offer clues," 7 Nov. 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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Statistics for overtake

Last Updated

29 Nov 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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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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the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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