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.
Recent Examples on the Web Hoover, who was the state cross country champion last fall, used a strong kick to overtake Crawford Kiser of Amarillo River Road in the final 100 meters to win by nearly two seconds. David Hinojosa, San Antonio Express-News, 12 May 2022 The colt caught two horses in the stretch but didn’t overtake Smile Happy and Classic Causeway in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 27. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, 7 May 2022 Antetokounmpo, trying to overtake LeBron James and Joel Embiid in a tight race for his first scoring title, finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Andrew Seligman, ajc, 6 Apr. 2022 Will teams like Mountainside or a young Westview squad be able to overtake Jesuit in the league race? oregonlive, 30 Mar. 2022 On a panel of US space experts and leaders speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in a panel moderated by CNN's Kristin Fisher, Gen. Thompson warned China could overtake the US in space capabilities by the end of the decade. Kristin Fisher And Sonnet Swire, CNN, 4 Dec. 2021 The trailblazing public servant was 84 years old and had multiple myeloma, a blood cancer in which malignant plasma cells overtake the space usually reserved for normal plasma cells that fight off infections. NBC News, 18 Oct. 2021 If the United States defeats Panama at home, Panama would have to make up at least six points on the USMNT (and probably seven because of goal difference), in their other seven remaining games to overtake the Americans. Ian Nicholas Quillen, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 General Motors wants to overtake Tesla Inc. in the electric-car market. Francesca Fontana, WSJ, 8 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Overtake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overtake. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for overtake


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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