over·​take | \ ˌō-vər-ˈtāk How to pronounce overtake (audio) \
overtook\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈtu̇k How to pronounce overtake (audio) \; overtaken\ ˌō-​vər-​ˈtā-​kən How to pronounce overtake (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 Can the Browns really overtake the Steelers for the AFC North crown? Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "What does it take to beat the Cleveland Browns right now? A little magic: Doug Lesmerises," 15 Dec. 2020 Doubtless, others will follow their lead and almost certainly overtake them. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Letter: Week of December 7," 12 Dec. 2020 Next year, capital expenditures in renewable power supply are expected to overtake oil and gas for the first time in history, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Christopher M. Matthews And Sarah Mcfarlane, WSJ, "The Dicey Economics of Investing in Oil During Covid-19," 11 Dec. 2020 Rountree needs 19 yards to overtake Zack Abron for the most rushing yards by a running back in Missouri history. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Missouri at South Carolina by the numbers: Tigers, Gamecocks even," 21 Nov. 2020 Alabama’s impressive performance in its prime-time showdown with Georgia earned the Crimson Tide a couple more first-place votes, but not enough to overtake Clemson for the No. 1 position in the Amway Coaches Poll. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, "Clemson holds off Alabama for No. 1 spot in Amway Coaches Poll," 18 Oct. 2020 Cleveland took advantage of the White Sox’s September swoon to overtake Chicago for the No. 4 seed. Daily News Staff, courant.com, "Yankees-Indians Wild Card Series: schedule, times, TV info, key stats," 28 Sep. 2020 Even if the Steelers lose Monday, the Chiefs won't be able to overtake them this week due to an inferior record in AFC games. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL playoff picture after Week 13: Vikings in, Cardinals out of last NFC wild-card spot," 7 Dec. 2020 But despite my panic, a strange sense of calm began to overtake me. Julie Washington, cleveland, "‘I don’t want to die like this’: Faces From the Front Lines of Coronavirus -- a series," 25 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for overtake

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for overtake

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overtake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overtake. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for overtake


How to pronounce overtake (audio)

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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