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

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 The outbreak is threatening to overtake the one the Spurs experienced last season as the club’s worst since the pandemic started in March 2020. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, 2 Jan. 2022 In Israel, more than half the daily infections are now estimated to be from Omicron, according to experts, and the variant is expected to overtake Delta as the dominant one in the country within days. New York Times, 28 Dec. 2021 Having a tournament every two years might raise revenue overall, but the standard of competition is unlikely to overtake club soccer or create as many unmissable television events. Zak Garner-purkis, Forbes, 21 Dec. 2021 Those players could again be called upon against the Seahawks (5-8) as the Rams make a push to overtake the Cardinals in the NFC West. Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2021 The drugmaker also said the antiviral pill proved effective in laboratory studies against the new Omicron variant, which is expected to overtake the Delta variant as the dominant strain in the United States within weeks. Harold Maass, The Week, 15 Dec. 2021 Race directors allowed the lapped cars that were between the two to overtake the safety car before the race restarted on the final lap. Charles Curtis, USA TODAY, 13 Dec. 2021 Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ next touchdown pass will be his 443rd, which would overtake Hall of Famer Brett Favre for the franchise lead. Ashley Bastock, cleveland, 25 Dec. 2021 The Baltimore Ravens scored the final 22 points – getting three touchdowns and two 2-point conversions on their final three possessions – to overtake the Indianapolis Colts for a 31-25 victory on Monday night. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 11 Oct. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near overtake



overtaken by events

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Statistics for overtake

Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Overtake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overtake. Accessed 17 Jan. 2022.

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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 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 in King Arthur's Court

More from Merriam-Webster on overtake

Nglish: Translation of overtake for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of overtake for Arabic Speakers


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