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 Trailing 131-125 with about four minutes to go, the Bucks couldn’t make enough stops down the stretch to once again overtake the Rockets. Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Rockets 143, Bucks 136: Giannis' ankle injury adds an element to an ugly loss," 29 Apr. 2021 Houston is 4-0 with a plus-7 map differential and Washington could very well tie Houston or overtake with lopsided wins over Boston and Toronto. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "Breaking down how the Dallas Fuel make or miss Overwatch League’s May Melee tournament," 28 Apr. 2021 Leftists and the most progressive Democrats portray her as a moderate capitulator, the kind of political leftover that members of the Squad — a new cast of young, progressive women in Congress — came to disrupt and overtake. Washington Post, "Nancy Pelosi: A study in power," 20 Apr. 2021 The New York Rangers, trailing by four goals in the third period, cut the deficit to one but couldn’t overtake the Capitals, loging 5-4 Sunday afternoon. Stephen Whyno, courant.com, "Rangers’ four-goal third not enough to overtake Capitals, who get 10th win in 11 games," 28 Mar. 2021 Davidson also said China could overtake the United States' hegemony in global affairs and assume a world leadership role by 2050. NBC News, "China could invade Taiwan in the next 6 years, assume global leadership role, U.S. admiral warns," 10 Mar. 2021 But Banning is called to the highest level of service once again after terrorists overtake the White House with President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) inside. Jordan Crucchiola, Vulture, "The 50 Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now," 15 Jan. 2021 The sports industry needs to catch up and overtake—because in sports, second place is rarely good enough. Julia Martensen, Forbes, "Reinventing The Fan Experience," 17 Apr. 2021 The injury to Jordan Morris gives the rest of the Western Conference an opportunity to overtake Seattle. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "What you need to know for MLS 2021 opening weekend: Live TV and streaming info, game schedule, power rankings," 16 Apr. 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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Statistics for overtake

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Overtake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overtake. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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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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